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Monitor Lizard Care Tips

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.

Asian Water Monitor Pet
An Asian Water Monitor, an increasingly common pet lizard

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.


The water dish should be checked, cleaned and refilled every day.

Heating and Temperature

Make sure you offer your monitor the proper heat gradient. Place a thermometer at each end of the enclosure to track temperatures. Be sure 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. Replace substrate every week, and tear down the terrarium for a full cleaning once a month.


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.


Keep handling to a minimum while a lizard is shedding. Misting the lizard lightly with a water bottle can help ease a difficult shed.


Regular defecation is a sign of good health. If your lizard is not pooping as usual it may be constipated, try gently giving it a bath in lukewarm water to promote digestion. If it has ingested something that they cannot digest they are at risk of impaction and may need to surgery.

Health Check

Inspect your lizard daily to make sure that the eyes are clear, the lizard does not have a runny nose, there are no signs of breathing difficulty, the skin looks good, and there are no shedding problems.

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