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Savannah monitors

Caring for Savannah Monitors: Diet, Habitat & Facts

Have you ever heard of a Savannah monitor? If not, you’re in for a treat! The savannah monitor is a fascinating species of lizard native to Africa. These creatures are known for their large size and distinctive pattern of scales, making them quite the spectacle to behold.

One reason why Savannah monitors have become popular as pets is due to their docile nature and ease of care. However, it’s important to understand their natural history in order to provide proper care in captivity. This includes knowledge about their diet, habitat, behavior, and more.

To properly care for these unique creatures, it’s essential to understand their natural history and provide them with an environment that mimics their wild habitat as closely as possible.

Characteristics and Behavior of Savannah Monitors

What is a Savannah Monitor Lizard?

Savannah monitors are a species of Varanus, a genus of lizards known for their large size. These creatures are one of the smaller-sized species of monitor lizards, growing up to 4 feet in length. They have an elongated body shape with a long tail, sharp claws, and rough skin covered in small scales.

Where Do Savannah Monitors Live?

Savannah monitors are native to Africa, specifically the savannas and grasslands of sub-Saharan regions. They prefer hot and dry climates, making them well-adapted to desert environments.

Facts About Savannah Monitors

  • Savannah monitors are carnivorous and feed on small mammals, insects, and other prey.
  • They have a lifespan of approximately 10 years in captivity.
  • These lizards can be kept as pets but require specialized care due to their unique needs.

What We Like About Savannah Monitors

Savannah monitors make fascinating pets for those who appreciate reptiles. Their unique appearance and behavior make them stand out among other lizard species. With proper care, they can become docile and even enjoy interacting with their owners.


Savannah monitors are primarily solitary animals that only come together during mating season. They are active during the day but tend to avoid direct sunlight by burrowing underground or finding shade under rocks or trees.

These lizards have an excellent sense of smell which they use to locate prey. When threatened or feeling stressed, they will puff up their bodies and hiss as a warning sign to predators.

Care Tips

When keeping savannah monitors as pets, it’s important to provide them with an environment that mimics their natural habitat as closely as possible. This includes:

  • A spacious enclosure with plenty of hiding spots such as rocks or logs
  • A heat source such as a basking lamp or heat pad to maintain a temperature range of 85-95°F
  • A UVB light source to provide the necessary vitamins and minerals for their health
  • A substrate that allows for burrowing such as sand or coconut fiber

Savannah monitors require a diet of live prey such as crickets, mealworms, and rodents. It’s important to ensure that the food is appropriately sized for their age and size.

Where Can You Find Savannah Monitors?

Savannah monitors can be found in pet stores that specialize in reptiles or exotic animals. However, it’s essential to research the breeder or seller before purchasing to ensure they are reputable and follow ethical practices.

Savannah Monitor Cage & Set Up: Tips for Proper Care

Size of the Enclosure

A Savannah monitor is a large reptile that requires ample space to move around. The minimum size for a cage is a 40-gallon aquarium, but it’s recommended to use an enclosure that’s at least 4 feet long, 2 feet wide, and 2 feet tall. This will provide enough space for your pet to roam around and exercise.

Designing the Enclosure

When designing the enclosure, it’s important to consider the needs of your pet. Savannah monitors are semi-arboreal animals, so they need both horizontal and vertical space. The cage should have branches or shelves at different heights to allow them to climb and bask under a heat lamp.

The enclosure should also have a hiding spot where your pet can retreat when feeling threatened or stressed. A simple hiding spot can be created by placing a cardboard box with an entrance hole in one corner of the cage.

It’s essential to provide a water dish that’s large enough for your pet to soak in as well as drink from. Make sure you clean the water dish regularly since Savannah monitors tend to defecate in their water source.


The substrate is what lines the bottom of the enclosure and serves as a surface for your pet to walk on. It should be non-toxic and easy to clean since Savannah monitors tend to defecate frequently.

Newspaper or paper towels are easy-to-clean options; however, they do not provide any traction for climbing or digging. Other options include reptile carpet, sand, or coconut coir fiber substrate which provides better traction but may require more maintenance.

Lighting & Heating

Savannah monitors require access to UVB lighting which helps them synthesize vitamin D3 necessary for calcium metabolism. Ensure that there is adequate lighting throughout the enclosure by placing UVB bulbs overhead and basking bulbs at one end of the enclosure.

The basking spot should have a temperature range of 100-110°F and the cooler side of the enclosure should be around 80°F. Use a digital thermometer to monitor temperature and ensure that there is a gradient in temperature throughout the enclosure.

Cleaning & Maintenance

Cleaning your pet’s cage regularly is essential for maintaining their health. Remove any feces or uneaten food daily, replace water daily, and clean the enclosure once a week using a reptile-safe disinfectant.

Savannah Monitor Diet: What to Feed Your Pet Lizard

Savannah monitor lizards are fascinating creatures that require a balanced diet of both animal and plant matter. In the wild, they feed on insects, rodents, fruits, and vegetables. However, in captivity, it is important to ensure that they receive all the necessary nutrients to stay healthy.

What Does a Savannah Monitor Eat?

As mentioned earlier, savannah monitor lizards are omnivores. This means that their diet should consist of both animal and plant matter. In the wild, they feed on insects such as crickets and mealworms, rodents such as mice and rats, as well as fruits and vegetables.

In captivity, you can offer your savannah monitor lizards a variety of prey items such as crickets, mealworms, super worms, wax worms, dubia roaches, hornworms, or silkworms. You can also feed them small rodents such as pinkie mice or fuzzies. It is important to note that feeding your lizard too many rodents can lead to obesity.


It is important to avoid feeding your savannah monitor lizard any toxic foods such as avocadoes or rhubarb leaves. Additionally, avoid any insects with hard exoskeletons like beetles or millipedes because these can be difficult for your pet lizard to digest.

Feeding Hatchlings vs Adult Savannah Monitors

Hatchlings should be fed more frequently than adult savannah monitors since they are growing rapidly. They should be offered smaller prey items such as crickets and mealworms two to three times a day. As they grow, the frequency of feeding can be reduced to once a day.

Adult Savannah monitors should be fed every other day or two to three times per week. The amount of food offered should be enough to satisfy them but not so much that it leads to obesity. Feeding too much can lead to health problems such as fatty liver disease.

Common Health Problems in Savannah Monitors: What to Look Out For

Savannah monitors, also known as Bosc’s monitors or Varanus exanthematicus, are popular pet reptiles due to their unique appearance and relatively low maintenance requirements. However, like any other animal, they are prone to certain health problems that require close attention from their owners.

Respiratory Infections

Respiratory infections are one of the most common health problems in Savannah Monitors. These infections can be caused by a variety of factors such as improper husbandry, stress, or exposure to pathogens. Symptoms of respiratory infections include wheezing, coughing, nasal discharge, open-mouth breathing, and lethargy.

To prevent respiratory infections in your Savannah monitor:

  • Maintain proper temperature and humidity levels within the enclosure
  • Clean and disinfect the enclosure regularly
  • Provide a balanced diet with adequate nutrition
  • Avoid overcrowding

If you suspect that your Savannah monitor has a respiratory infection, consult with a veterinarian who specializes in reptiles immediately for diagnosis and treatment.

Metabolic Bone Disease

Metabolic bone disease is another common health problem in Savannah Monitors. This condition is caused by an imbalance between calcium and phosphorus intake which results in weakened bones. Symptoms of metabolic bone disease include softening of the jawbone or spinal cord deformities.

To prevent metabolic bone disease:

  • Feed your savannah monitor a varied diet consisting of insects such as crickets or roaches along with mice or other small prey.
  • Dust food items with calcium supplements at least twice weekly.
  • Provide a UVB light source for at least 10 hours daily.

If you suspect that your Savannah monitor has metabolic bone disease symptoms consult with a veterinarian who specializes in reptiles immediately for diagnosis and treatment.

Parasitic Infections

Parasitic infections are also common in Savannah Monitors. These infections can be caused by internal or external parasites, such as mites, ticks, worms, or protozoa. Symptoms of parasitic infections include lethargy, weight loss, and decreased appetite.

To prevent parasitic infections:

  • Keep the enclosure clean and free from feces.
  • Provide proper hygiene for your Savannah monitor.
  • Quarantine new animals before introducing them to the existing group.

If you suspect that your savannah monitor has parasitic infection symptoms consult with a veterinarian who specializes in reptiles immediately for diagnosis and treatment.

Savannah Monitor Lifespan & Health: How Long Do They Live?

Savannah monitors are fascinating reptiles that have become popular pets in recent years. These lizards are native to the savannas and grasslands of Africa and can grow up to 4 feet long. If you’re considering getting a Savannah monitor as a pet, it’s important to understand their lifespan and how to keep them healthy.

Savannah Monitor Length

Savannah monitors can grow quite large, with males reaching up to 4 feet in length and females being slightly smaller at around 3 feet. These lizards start out small when they hatch, typically measuring between 5-7 inches long. Over time, they will continue to grow until they reach their adult size at around 2-3 years old.

When Do Savannah Monitors Stop Growing?

Savannah monitors will continue to grow for the first few years of their lives until they reach their adult size. After this point, they will stop growing and will maintain their size for the rest of their lives. It’s important to note that factors such as diet and habitat can affect growth rates, so it’s essential to provide your Savannah monitor with proper care throughout its life.

Savannah Monitor Lifespan

In captivity, Savannah monitors can live up to 10 years or more if provided with proper care. However, many factors can impact a lizard’s lifespan, including genetics, diet, habitat conditions, and overall health.

One of the most critical factors that impact a Savannah monitor’s lifespan is diet. These lizards require a varied diet that includes both animal protein (such as insects or rodents) and plant matter (such as fruits or vegetables). Providing your lizard with high-quality food is essential for its long-term health.

Another essential factor is habitat conditions. Savannah monitors require an environment that mimics their natural habitat in Africa – hot temperatures during the day and cooler temperatures at night. They also need access to UVB lighting, which helps them metabolize calcium and maintain healthy bones.

Breeding Season

Savannah monitors have a breeding season that typically occurs during the rainy season in their native habitat. In captivity, these lizards can breed year-round if provided with proper conditions. However, breeding should only be attempted by experienced breeders as caring for baby Savannah monitors can be challenging.

How Much Is a Baby Savannah Monitor?

The cost of a baby Savannah monitor varies depending on where you purchase it from and its age and size. Generally, younger lizards will be less expensive than older ones. However, keep in mind that purchasing a lizard is only the beginning of the expense – providing proper care throughout its life requires ongoing investment.

Responsible Ownership of Savannah Monitors: Advice and Guidance for Pet Owners

Savannah monitor

Tips for responsible ownership of Savannah Monitors for reptile owners

Savannah monitors are fascinating animals that make great pets for experienced reptile owners. However, taking care of these creatures requires a lot of effort and knowledge. As an owner, you need to provide your pet with the right conditions, food, and attention to ensure they live long healthy lives.

Firstly, it’s essential to have a good understanding of the animal’s natural habitat and behavior patterns. Savannah monitors are native to Africa and require warm temperatures ranging from 85-90°F during the day and 70-75°F at night. They also need a basking spot where they can get heat from an overhead lamp or under-tank heater. Providing them with hiding spots is crucial as they spend most of their time in burrows in the wild.

Another important aspect is feeding your pet correctly. In captivity, savannah monitors can be fed crickets, mealworms, super worms, rodents (mice or rats), and boiled eggs occasionally supplemented with calcium powder dusting. Do not feed them scorpions or any other insects that could harm them.

Lastly, it’s crucial to maintain proper hygiene within their enclosure by cleaning their tank regularly using appropriate cleaning agents such as F10 disinfectant solution.

Proper care and enclosure space for adult Savannah Monitors

Adult Savannah monitors require large enclosures measuring at least 6ft x 4ft x 4ft in size. The section should be made up of sturdy materials such as wood or PVC panels with secure locks to prevent escape attempts.

The substrate used should be able to retain moisture while allowing easy cleaning; Cypress mulch is an excellent choice as it absorbs odor well too! You’ll also need a basking light source capable of producing enough heat which will help regulate body temperature during cooler weather.

It’s essential to provide a hide box for your pet as they need a place to retreat when feeling threatened or stressed. The hide box should be large enough to accommodate the animal comfortably, with an entrance hole big enough for them to enter and exit easily.

Known patterns and behaviors of Savannah Monitors in captivity

Savannah monitors are active creatures that require plenty of space to move around. They are also known for their curious nature, which can lead them into trouble if not watched carefully.

A common behavior observed in Savannah monitors is tail whipping. This occurs when the animal feels threatened or agitated and is their way of showing aggression. It’s crucial to avoid handling your pet during these times as it could result in injury to you or your pet.

Another important behavior pattern is shedding; savannah monitors shed their skin regularly, and it’s essential to ensure they have access to water during this time. You can also help by providing a damp cloth for them to rub against, which will aid in removing any excess skin that may be stuck on their body.

Keeping Your Savannah Monitor Happy and Healthy

In conclusion, keeping your Savannah Monitor happy and healthy requires proper care, attention, and responsibility. Providing a suitable cage and set up with the right temperature, humidity, substrate, and hiding spots is crucial for their well-being. Feeding them a balanced diet of insects, rodents, vegetables, and fruits is essential to meet their nutritional needs. Regular monitoring of their health status through physical examination and observation can help detect any signs of illness or disease early on.

It’s also important to be a responsible pet owner by researching extensively about Savannah Monitors before getting one as a pet. Understanding their characteristics, behavior, lifespan, and potential health problems can help you provide the best care possible. Seeking advice from experienced owners or veterinarians can give you valuable insights into how to keep your pet lizard healthy and happy.

To ensure the best outcome for both you and your Savannah Monitor pet:

  • Provide a suitable cage with proper heating, lighting, and substrate.
  • Feed them a balanced diet of insects/rodents/vegetables/fruits.
  • Monitor their health regularly for any signs of illness or disease.
  • Be a responsible owner by researching extensively about Savannah Monitors before getting one as a pet.
  • Seek advice from experienced owners or veterinarians when needed.


Q: How often should I feed my Savannah Monitor?

A: Savannah monitors should be fed daily while adult ones can be fed every other day.

Q: Can I house two Savannah Monitors together?

A: It is not recommended to house two Savannah monitors together unless they are breeding pairs.

Q: What temperature should the basking spot be in my Savannah monitor’s enclosure?

A: The basking spot temperature should be around 110°F (43°C).

Q: How long do Savannah Monitors live in captivity?

A: Savannah monitors can live up to 10-15 years in captivity with proper care.

Q: Do Savannah Monitors require UVB lighting?

A: Yes, Savannah monitors require UVB lighting to help them metabolize calcium and maintain healthy bones.

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