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Can you keep a monitor lizard as a pet?

Monitor lizards are becoming increasingly common as pets and they can make for a great reptile companion under the right circumstances. They are highly intelligent, quite interactive, and can be tamed and even trained. Keeping a monitor lizard is however a huge commitment, both in terms of time and costs, and caring for large, exotic wild animals is definitely not for everyone.

Monitor Lizard Pet

Monitor Lizard Pets

Many species of monitor lizards are kept as pets, some of the most common are the ackie monitor, the Asian water monitor, the Nile monitor, the Timor monitor and the Savannah monitor. Ackie monitors are generally considered the best monitor lizard pet and are especially recommended for beginners and first-time lizard owners, as these are smaller and somewhat easier to keep. Savannah monitors are also extremely popular, despite being much larger in size they are actually quite friendly. Nile monitors and Asian water monitors on the other hand are known to be less friendly and may require more expertise with handling and taming. Another interesting species is the tree blue monitor or blue-spotted monitor which are somewhat rare in the trade but make for unique, wonderful exotic pets. These have very specific enclosure requirements and are better suited for experienced keepers only.

Small Pets
Small Pets

Care and Requirements

Caring for a monitor lizard is no easy feat and a long-time commitment. In fact, most monitor lizard species can live for up to 20 years in captivity under the right conditions. Setting up the right environment for a monitor can also be expensive as these lizards grow very big in size – some as big as 5 feet! They will need specific substrate for burrowing, hiding spots, sources of heat for basking, and UVB light that runs 12 hours a day. In terms of feeding, monitors have high-maintenance protein-rich diets that will require regular feeding. Most monitors will need to be fed insects, eggs, whole prey (e.g. small rodents and chicks), fish and shrimp. Some smaller species such as the Blue tree monitor are mostly insectivores (but can still feed on eggs and small prey occasionally).


What’s the easiest monitor to care for?

Ackie monitors are considered the best monitor lizards for beginners and the easiest to keep. They are small, docile, and easy to care for. Other beginner-friendly monitors are the Blackthroat monitor, the Whitethroat monitor, the Peachthroat monitor and the Savannah monitor. If you are looking for a pet similar to a monitor lizard but easier to keep, Tegu lizards and Blue-tongued skinks are great alternatives.

Are monitor lizards good as pets?

Monitor lizards can make good pets if you know how to take care of them and make them happy. They are wild animals and as such you should not expect to treat them as cats or dogs, they need a lot of space and specific enclosure requirements where they can feel in their natural habitat. But unlike other reptiles the monitor lizard is highly intelligent, recognizes their owner and can be trained.

Are monitor lizards affectionate?

Monitor lizards are not affectionate, but people still enjoy having them around as pets. A healthy and happy monitor lizard will tolerate your presence and some may even appear friendly towards their owners. They are still wild animals at heart, though.

Are monitor lizards dangerous?

Most species of monitor lizards are not dangerous to humans, although they can and will attack you if provoked. Their bites hurt and can get infected, but are not fatal to humans. Even their venom is only capable of paralyzing small preys and has no effect on adult humans. That said, you do not want to get bitten by a monitor lizard. Thankfully more monitor lizards that can be kept as pets can be tamed and will show no aggressive behavior as long as you keep them happy and well-fed.

Can you keep komodo dragon as pet?

The komodo dragon is the largest monitor lizard that grows up to 10 feet in size. You cannot keep it as a pet. Not only this is an extremely dangerous man-eating creature, but it is also an endangered species, and it simply cannot be kept in captivity.

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