Savannah monitors are huge pet lizards that are one of the most docile monitor species. They are not particularly active animals and normally tolerate handling. Savannahs are popular pets in the United States, but they do not always perform well in captivity. This lizard is not suitable as a pet for inexperienced reptile keepers; they require meticulous care to be healthy. This lizard is native to Sub-Saharan Africa’s savannah or grasslands.
Savannah Monitors are strong and well-known escape artists. Make certain that the cage is completely enclosed and has a tight lock. A hatchling or juvenile savannah may survive in a 55-gallon aquarium for about six months, but they develop quickly. When a newborn is brought home, most owners have their grownup setup ready. At adulthood, its enclosure will need to be at least double its length.
An adult lizard requires a cage that is 8 feet long by 4 feet broad. It should be at least three feet tall. The enclosure’s height should prevent them from escaping but still allowing a branch or other décor in the cage in case they desire to climb. Because monitors can be destructive, merely give rocks and hides; no decorations are required.
Their claws will destroy screen-sided enclosures, so opt for glass or Plexiglas. Plan a location above the cage to hang lighting and heat sources. Make room for a large water dish (or a cat litter box) in which the monitor may submerge its full body. Feces should be cleaned from their enclosure on a daily basis, especially if they are in their water.
Every two weeks, thoroughly clean the entire cage and find a safe spot to hold your lizard while doing so. Some owners use a hard plastic pet carrier or the bathtub to carry their pets.
Provide an average enclosure temperature of 95 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit and a basking spot temperature of 110 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit. All reptiles, as cold-blooded organisms, must control their body temperature. The cage requires a temperature differential of 85 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 75 degrees Fahrenheit at night. To meet nighttime temperature requirements, use ceramic heat emitters instead of lights.
Most lizards, including Savannah monitors, require UVB illumination. To simulate the sun’s output, a high-percentage UVB output bulb (8 to 10%) should be turned on for a 10- to 12-hour cycle everyday. Even if the light does not burn out, change the bulbs every six months. After that time, the invisible UVB rays cease to radiate.
Provide a nearly 100 percent humidity gradient in the substrate and aim to keep it over 60 percent in the coolest area of the cage. The sunbathing area will most likely be devoid of moisture. Reptile owners will sometimes line the bottom of a cage with substrate or bedding. Savannah monitors are diggers and will like burrowing substrate.
Savannah monitors are voracious eaters who may consume substrate along with their prey. Choose bedding that will not clog the digestive tract or cause impaction. In trace concentrations, small substrates such as calcium sand are semi-digestible. For dirty or more aggressive lizards, paper towels, butcher paper, towels, reptile-safe carpet, felt, and other readily cleaned and changed flat bedding options are recommended.
If your Savannah monitor is gentle, use natural bedding such as sand, organic soil, or a combination of the two that they can burrow down at least 24 inches deep. The worn or filthy substrate must be changed on a regular basis—at least every two weeks.
They have spots on their backs and rings on their short tails and are grayish-tan in color. They feed on a variety of invertebrates as well as small mice. In the wild, they hunt by using their tongues to detect chemical cues from their surroundings.
They are solitary lizards that only interact with members of their own species during the breeding season. By the age of four, Savannah Monitor lizards can grow to be two to four feet long. They can weigh up to 13 pounds. Babies are only a few inches long at birth, but they grow remarkably quickly.
When not in captivity, the Savannah Monitor is a solitary reptile that will only socialize with other members of its own species during the breeding season. Males are known for being quite territorial, and if they come into touch with one another, they will fight. They are not extremely active creatures, preferring to spend their time lounging in or out of the basking area.
In captivity, tongue flicking may suggest that your monitor is hungry or simply interested. They only communicate with one another by detecting pheromones and other chemical messages with their tongues. Mating and fighting will display several ways of communication. To warn off predators, they may hiss loudly and flail their tail, or as a last resort, they may play dead.
A veterinarian who specializes in exotics can treat common savannah monitor ailments. These lizards are susceptible to parasite infections, which cause sluggishness, a lack of appetite, and vomiting. External parasites or mites that suck the lizard’s blood through the skin can also infect them. Both of these disorders are potentially fatal and are common in captive savannah lizards.
Savannah monitors, like many other reptiles, are susceptible to respiratory diseases. The most common symptoms are open-mouthed breathing, wheezing, and mucous in the mouth. If these lizards do not obtain enough UVB rays, calcium, and vitamin D, they can develop metabolic bone disease.
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