In the last years, more and more persons have developed an audacious and interesting passion for the fascinating world of exotic animals. Of course, we also include reptiles in this category. The savannah monitor may look like a perfect choice for many people passionate of reptiles, but as fascinating this hobby might be, as pretentious it is, not being suitable for everyone.
Monitorus exanthematicus or the savannah monitor is part of the Monitorus genus of the Monitoridae family, most of the species belonging to this genus being carnivorous. Moreover, they are considered to be one of the biggest lizards in the world, having a very long body, covered in hard scales.
The savannah monitor is originating from Africa, from the area of the tropical savannahs, but it was spread along the world, in Europe being known as “Bosc’s monitor”, after the name of the French botanist Louis Augustin Guillaume Bosc, who first made an ample study upon this species. He considered that the savannah monitor was a lizard with a different behavior than the other lizards. Why? Because it is very intelligent and it reacts with rapidity, being thus considered the most intelligent lizard in the world. For this reason, many passionate people consider that the monitor is a special choice. But things are not that easy.
First of all, the savannah monitor has pretty big dimensions, reaching up to 1,5 m, even if this thing does not make the passionate people turn down the idea of raising a savannah monitor as a pet. Moreover, the monitor needs sufficient space and its terrarium has to offer it all the conditions to develop appropriately.
Secondly, this lizard’s life expectancy is very big. If in its natural habitat it can live up to 20 years, while in captivity, it can live 12-15 years if it is properly taken care of. Here a small problem comes ahead, because raising such an animal as a pet might prove expensive, not to speak of the fact that the savannah monitor remains a wild animal whose bite is strong and painful. The monitor can use its sharp claws to defend itself, but although they have a defensive behavior, these reptiles are easily tamable with much patience and care.
As such, it is not a choice good for any person. Even so, any person passionate that considers that he can raise a monitor, he should take into consideration all the aspects previously mentioned.
Choosing a savannah monitor
If in the case of other pets it is preferable that the individuals to be chosen when they have not reached maturity yet, this rule does not apply in the case of the savannah monitor also. If this reptile is kept in captivity from a very early age, it will most often die. This is why it is preferable that the persons who want to have such a pet acquire mature individuals. Furthermore, there are a series of other aspects that should be carefully respected when picking up a savannah monitor: the reptile should not excessively lose skin and its eyes have to be very clear; otherwise, these might be signs of a disease.
A pretty complicated thing is represented by the lizard’s adaptation to its new home. Its terrarium should have approximately 4 m in length, 2 m width and 1,5-2 m height. The savannah monitors love warmth and humidity, so this is why their terrarium should offer them all these conditions.
It would be impossible, though, for the temperature to reach up to 70ºC, temperatures that the monitor can outlive just fine, but a temperature like 32ºC would be ideal. The place where the monitor would live has to be arranged with very high precision. The substratum has to be made of coconut shell of sand and the decorative elements should not miss. The monitor loves to hide, especially during the first weeks it spends in a new terrarium.
As we have previously mentioned, taking care of a monitor can be very expensive. First of all, in many cases, parasites can provoke serious affections. This is why you should consult the veterinary on a regular basis in order to apply an appropriate treatment. It is also understandable that, given that it lives in captivity, the savannah monitor’s organism somehow loses his capacity to fight against some factors that put its integrity in danger.
Feeding a savannah monitor also raises problems. Many times, until it gets accustomed, the lizard refuses to feed because it does not feel safe. It is preferable that during the first week of accommodation, the owner of such a lizard not enter too much in contact with it in order not to frighten it. Food represents an important element in taking care of a savannah monitor. In its natural habitat, the savannah monitor feeds with invertebrates, as specialty studies show.
Thus, while in captivity, the lizard can be fed with insects such as grasshoppers, crickets, but also with snails or scorpions. You should not exaggerate with feeding because many such individuals have the tendency to get obese, which cuts down on their life expectancy. You can also offer the monitor Calcium and vitamin supplements. So, whoever thought that taking care of a reptile is very easy, was wrong, as the savannah monitor is very pretentious and it needs special care.