Caring for a monitor lizard is no easy feat as these animals require daily attention and specific environmental conditions in order to thrive and be happy.
If you own a Savannah monitor or any big lizard, you need to make sure that they have daily access to food, water and entertainment, that their environment is clean and has adequate sources of light and heat, and to carry out health checks on a regular basis.
Below, a check list of things you need to consider when caring for a monitor lizard pet.
Monitor Lizard Care Tips
Feed monitors daily. They require a proper variety of food items, mainly proteins in the form of insects.
You can feed small rodents and eggs occasionally. Some species may eat fruit, but monitor lizards commonly kept as pets are usually insectivore.
Dusting food with calcium and vitamin powders helps keep your lizard healthy. Take note if your monitor does not eat as it may be a sign of underlying health problems.
It’s important to make sure your lizard has access to fresh water at all times, so be sure to check, clean, and refill their water dish every day.
This will give them clean water to drink and also help keep the air moist and humidity levels high in their home. It’s best to use a strong metal dish so your lizard won’t tip it over by mistake.
Heating and Temperature
Monitor lizards are cold-blooded, which means they rely on their environment to regulate their body temperature.
Make sure you offer your monitor the proper heat gradient. Place a thermometer at each end of the enclosure to track temperatures.
Regurarly check that your heating source works properly, and immediately replace if it does not. Make sure to change out the full-spectrum light every six months
Spot-cleaning the cage daily to remove any soiled spots, shed skin or uneaten food is recommended. Replace substrate every week, and tear down the terrarium for a full cleaning once a month. This means removing everything from the enclosure, disinfecting it, and replacing the substrate and decor.
Make sure that your monitors have sources of entertainment and intellectual stimulation.
Monitor lizard enrichment ideas include arranging items in the enclosure, scatter feeding, and using scents to promote physical activity.
Water is essential for the health and wellbeing of your monitor lizard. It’s important to make sure your lizard has access to fresh water at all times, so be sure to check, clean, and refill their water dish every day. This will not only provide your lizard with clean water to drink, but it will also help keep the air moist and the humidity levels high in their enclosure. A high level of humidity is crucial for proper shedding and overall health. Using a sturdy metal dish is recommended as it will prevent your lizard from accidentally tipping it over.
Heating and Temperature
As cold-blooded reptiles, monitor lizards rely on their environment to regulate their body temperature. This means it’s crucial to provide them with the proper heat gradient in their enclosure. You should place a thermometer at each end of the enclosure to ensure that the temperature gradient is correct. The warm end of the enclosure should have a temperature of around 95-100°F, while the cool end should be around 80-85°F.
It’s important to regularly check that your heating source is working properly, and if it is not, it should be immediately replaced. Additionally, it’s recommended to change out the full-spectrum light every six months to ensure your lizard is getting the proper UVB exposure they need for good health.
Keeping your monitor lizard’s enclosure clean is important for their health and wellbeing. Spot-cleaning the cage daily to remove any soiled spots, shed skin or uneaten food is recommended. This will help prevent the buildup of bacteria and other harmful substances that can make your lizard sick. Additionally, you should replace the substrate every week, and do a full cleaning of the enclosure once a month. This means removing everything from the enclosure, disinfecting it, and replacing the substrate and decor.
Monitor lizards, like other reptiles, require stimulation and enrichment to keep them healthy and happy. Ensuring that your lizard has sources of entertainment and intellectual stimulation is important. There are many ways to provide enrichment for your monitor lizard. Some ideas include arranging items in the enclosure to create new hiding spots, scatter feeding (spreading food around the enclosure for your lizard to find), and using scents to promote physical activity.
Enrichment not only helps to prevent boredom and improve mental health, but it can also promote physical health and activity. Keeping your lizard active and engaged will help prevent obesity, muscle wasting, and other health problems.
Monitor lizards are reptiles that shed their skin regularly as a natural process of growth. Shedding is an important part of their life cycle, and it helps them get rid of old skin and make room for new skin growth. During shedding, it is crucial to maintain high humidity levels in the lizard’s enclosure to facilitate this process. When the humidity is too low, the skin can become dry and crack, which can be painful for the lizard.
It’s important to keep handling to a minimum while a lizard is shedding. Handling during shedding can cause discomfort and lead to skin damage or injury. If your monitor lizard is shedding, you should avoid holding it or touching its skin unless absolutely necessary. Instead, you can help the shedding process by misting the lizard lightly with a water bottle. This will help keep the skin moist and make it easier for the old skin to peel off. It’s essential to let your lizard complete its shedding process naturally.
Regular defecation is an indicator of good health, so it’s essential to keep an eye on your lizard’s poop schedule. If your monitor lizard is not pooping as usual, it may be constipated. Constipation is a common health issue in lizards and can be caused by several factors, including dehydration, stress, or impaction.
If you suspect that your lizard is constipated, you can help promote digestion by giving it a bath in lukewarm water. Gently place your lizard in a shallow container with warm water, and let it soak for 20-30 minutes. The warm water can help relax the muscles in their digestive tract and promote bowel movements. If your lizard has ingested something that it cannot digest, it may be at risk of impaction, a potentially life-threatening condition where undigested food becomes stuck in the digestive system. If your lizard shows signs of impaction, such as a lack of appetite or lethargy, contact your veterinarian immediately.
A health check should include an inspection of the eyes, nose, breathing, skin, and shedding.
Inspect your lizard’s eyes to make sure they are clear and free of any discharge. If your lizard’s eyes are cloudy or swollen, it could be a sign of an underlying health problem. A runny nose can also be a symptom of respiratory infection or another health issue, so it’s important to monitor it.
Check your lizard’s breathing for any signs of difficulty or wheezing. Respiratory issues can be caused by a variety of factors, including bacterial or viral infections, environmental factors, or stress.
Examine your lizard’s skin for any unusual bumps, lumps, or discoloration. A healthy lizard should have smooth, vibrant skin without any signs of irritation. It’s important to look for any signs of shedding problems, such as incomplete shedding or retained skin.
PetsWithScales.com is an informational website about big lizard pet care. We collect and provide information from different sources across the web on how to keep and care for reptiles as pets. The species we mainly deal with are tegus, monitor lizards, skinks and geckos. Our aim is to provide high quality information to help pet owners make better, more informed decisions about their animal’s diets, health and life.