Asian Water Monitor Care
Common Name: Asian Water Monitor
Scientific Name: Varanus salvator
Homeland: Malaysia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India
Size: 5-6 feet long
Lifespan: 25 years old
This is Bambi as a hatchling.
Oh My! Make it a full room. Monitors are intelligent and curious so give them lots of room to climb, dig and bask. A hide box is a must. Especially if you have a substrate they cannot dig in. This is so important to their digestion and mental well being so please be sure to supply them all their needs. Don't forget access to plenty of sunlight. My Bambi flattens out like a pancake when the sun rays hit her cage. Soooo cute. She loves the sun. A full size room with a floor that can be disinfected and a large pool that she can swim in is hard for most people to supply. Some people provide a large bath once a week or so, but I find my baby in the water constantly. She loves to swim and I think it's good exercise. Also, I am all for mental stimulation, I gave mine a plastic ball with holes in it and I know she is not playing, per say, but she does push it around, especially in the water.
Fresh clean dirt is great. Its cheap to replace. My "Bambi" likes to dig and has a habit of pooping in her water so cleaning is easy for now. I sometimes change her water twice a day now. This will be a major chore when she full-grown as she will have a more of a bathtub. I still use the dry deck I speak of in my general section. UPDATE 2012: Bambi's cage is now 17 feet long, 5 feet deep and 5 feet high. It has a sunk in 50 gallon tub, custom built with drain so I do not have to empty it myself thank goodness. The substrate is dirt which allows for her natural burrowing needs.Large branches to climb, shelves to bask on and places to hide. It is not the wild but she seems as content as can be. Still gentle and sweet enough to go to children's birthday parties.No, the kids don't get to hold her but she sure is loved by them.
Curious, intelligent, potentially dangerous as an adult if frequent handling is not there. These are often gentle animals and I have never been snapped at by my monitor but remember, any animal with a mouth can bite and the bigger the animal the bigger the bite. Don't get comfortable, I still am always cautious, especially when I am taking her out of her cage as they always want to eat.
Hot, humid, tropical. 80 on one side and up to 130 in the basking spot. Yes, I said 130. I believe this is the ket to a happy healthy lizard. They eat a lot and need this to digest there food. Reptiles are cold blooded and the enzymes in their stomach are activated by heat. If this is not provide they cannot digest properly and can become inpacted. Imagine food rotting in their stomach. Make sure your little dinosaur has freedom to move about and has a large enought cage to provide this temperature gradient so he can go to the spot where the temperature is what he wants. Don't forget the water. Of course I use the heat panels to heat the cage. Please visit www.pro-products.com for more info on these awesome radiant heat panels. Tell them SnakeBabe sent you.
These guys are scavengers so feeding dead food is easy. Mine did get pinkies, crickets and other insects as a hatchling. Now she gets rodents of appropriate size sprinkled with vitamin powder. The powder doesn't seem to phase her in the least as it does some of my other lizards. She is getting small rats and large mice. They will eat anything they come across in the wild, crabs, fish, eggs, small birds. There is so little information on feeding these guys on the internet I pretty much use my best judgement. I feed her two days in a row and skip the 3rd.
I provide full spectrum light, although I read it is not needed with these guys. I tend to lean towards "if they get it in the wild I will provide it." Bambi loves the sun, she will bask for hours on a nice day.
This and That:
These animals get big! They can live to 25 years old. That's a long-term commitment of care. Lots of space must be given to keep these animals happy and healthy. Monitor lizards can inflict a painful bite. It is important that they become used to your daily contact while they are young so that they can be handled safely when they are adults
Very high maintenance. They need long huge cages, bathtubs or something bigger if possible to swim in. Ahh but they also poop in that water. So if you want one for a pet be ready to clean a bathtub full of poop water every day for the next 25 years. Yuck. I love her but I strongly recomend getting something easier to care for.