Sulfur water monitors (also spelled “sulphur water monitors“) are a stunning heritable color variation of the Asian water monitor, scientifically known as Varanus salvator.
These lizards are naturally occurring in a large area of the Indonesian islands and are heavily aquatic, loving to swim and hunt in rivers and streams usually in heavily forested areas.
Growing up to 6-7 feet in length at full maturity, they are second in size only to the komodo dragon. Their natural habitat and impressive size make them a popular choice among reptile enthusiasts, but owning one comes with its own set of challenges.
Care and Maintenance
As with any Asian water monitor, sulfur water monitors require a lot of attention and care. They need a complicated and large enclosure, a varied diet, and lots of socialization to prevent aggression. They are also very strong and can inflict damaging bites, so it’s essential to have experience and knowledge in caring for them.
The average lifespan of an Asian water monitor in captivity is around 20-25 years, although they can live up to 30 years with proper care.
Sulfur water monitors, like all Asian water monitors, are hypercarnivores, meaning their diet is 100% meat and consists of other animals and their eggs.
In captivity, their diet should consist of a variety of protein sources such as gut-loaded crickets, cockroaches, mealworms, small fish, and shrimp for juveniles. As they grow older, their diet can include pre-killed chicks, mice, eggs, and organ meats.
It’s important to vary their diet to provide all the necessary nutrition and to make feeding time more enriching. It’s also important to dust feeder insects with a vitamin D3/calcium powder every second meal.
The cage should be big enough to provide space in all directions for the lizard to climb, walk, and soak. A hatchling can be kept in a small 36” x 30” x 24” enclosure, which is about 100 gallons, for the first six months. However, as it grows, you will need to move your lizard into a larger enclosure. Ideally, an adult should be kept in a converted room or a custom-built cage at least 4’ x 8’ x 8’. Large males may need even more room.
Sulfur water monitors like a warm, humid environment. The cage should have a basking spot between 120 and 150°F. To achieve this, you will need to use multiple basking lamps that cover the whole length of your lizard. Ambient temperatures should be in the low 80s. To create a nice temperature gradient, keep a cool side at 72 to 74°F. Humidity around 70% is ideal, which should be easy to maintain because of the large bathing area they need.
The cage should also include a large area of clean water for the lizard to submerge in and plenty of opportunities to climb, dig, and explore. Providing hiding spots, branches, and other climbing structures can help create a more natural environment for the lizard.
Sulfur water monitors are considered a high-end morph, with prices ranging around $2,000. These lizards get quite large, and it can be costly to provide them with an enclosure that is large enough to accommodate their size and mimics their natural habitat.
The enclosure itself, along with necessary heating and lighting equipment, can easily cost several hundred dollars. Additionally, their diet of live animals and high protein foods can also add up over time.
This makes them a significant investment for any reptile enthusiast, and it’s important to consider the cost and responsibilities involved in owning one before making a purchase.
Overall, sulfur water monitors are a beautiful and fascinating species of lizard. However, they require a significant commitment in terms of time, money, and care. It’s essential to do your research and be prepared for the responsibilities of owning one before making a purchase.
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.