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Home » Argus Monitor Care – Information, Enclosure, Diet & Health

Argus Monitor Care – Information, Enclosure, Diet & Health

The Argus monitor (Varanus panoptes), also known as the yellow-spotted monitor, is a fascinating and versatile monitor lizard found in the northern regions of Australia and southern New Guinea.

This ground-dwelling reptile is known for its distinctive coloration, large dark spots along its back, and its ability to stand erect on its hind legs and tail, giving it an imposing appearance.

Argus monitor lizard (Varanus panoptes)
Argus monitor lizard (Varanus panoptes). Photo courtesy of Greg Hume.

Argus Monitor Care Sheet

Common NameArgus Monitor
Scientific NameVaranus panoptes
Lifespan10-15 years
Size as AdultFemales: Up to 3 feet, Males: 4-5 feet
WeightUp to 15 pounds
DietCarnivorous (fish, crabs, birds, rodents, insects, other lizards)
Enclosure Size Requirements6ft x 4ft x 4ft (minimum)
Enclosure Temperature Requirements85°F to 100°F (basking spot), 75°F to 85°F (cool side)
Humidity Requirements60%-80%

Husbandry and Enclosure Requirements:

Argus monitors are active and intelligent reptiles that require a spacious and enriched enclosure to thrive.

A terrarium of at least 6 feet in length, 4 feet in width, and 4 feet in height is the minimum size to accommodate their active nature. The enclosure should be equipped with branches, rocks, and hiding spots to simulate their natural environment and provide them with opportunities for climbing and exploration.

Proper lighting is crucial for their well-being. A combination of UVB lighting (5% or 10%) and a basking light should be provided to ensure they receive the necessary UV radiation and maintain proper calcium metabolism.
Maintain a basking spot temperature of 85°F to 100°F and a cooler side temperature of 75°F to 85°F.

Nighttime temperatures can drop to 70°F to 75°F. Ensure that the enclosure’s humidity levels are maintained between 60% to 80% to promote proper shedding and respiratory health.

Dietary Needs and Feeding Schedule:

Argus monitors are carnivorous and have a diverse diet. Their meals can include fish, crabs, small birds, rodents, insects, and occasionally other lizards. It is essential to provide a varied diet to meet their nutritional requirements fully.

Feeding should be done every 2 to 3 days for adults, while younger individuals may require daily feedings. Offering prey items of appropriate size is crucial to prevent choking or other digestive issues.

Things to Consider

Taming and Handling:

Argus monitors are not naturally inclined to be handled frequently. Taming requires patience and consistent, gentle interactions from a young age. Always be cautious during handling, as they may exhibit defensive behaviors when feeling threatened.

Costs and Maintenance:

Keeping an Argus monitor can be a significant investment. Besides the initial setup costs for the enclosure, lighting, and heating, ongoing expenses include high-quality food, veterinary care, and regular maintenance of the enclosure.

Comparison to Other Species:

Compared to other monitor lizard species, Argus monitors are of moderate size. While they may not be as large as the perentie or lace monitor, they still require spacious enclosures and dedicated care.

In conclusion, the Argus monitor is a captivating and challenging reptile to keep as a pet. By providing a suitable enclosure, a varied and nutritious diet, and handling them with care, you can ensure a fulfilling and rewarding experience as a responsible pet owner. Always conduct thorough research and consult with experienced reptile keepers or veterinarians before bringing an Argus monitor into your home.

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