Caring for Your New Water Monitor

The inside scoop on Varanus salvator

 
Amphibians
Axolotls
Caecilian Worm
Chaco Toad
Mud Puppies

Newts General
Newts Eastern
Newts Golden

Newts Mandarin
Salamanders
Suriname Toad
Tadpoles
Terrarium I
Terrarium II
USA Toads
Water Dogs
Misc. Toads

Frogs
Bull
Clawed
Dumpy
Dwarf
Fire-Belly
Floating
Green Tree
Leopard
Pac Man
Pipa pipa
Pyxie
Red-Eyed Tree
Tomato
Misc Frogs 
Misc Frogs II
Misc Frogs III
Misc Frogs IV

Misc Frogs V

Animals
Bunnies
Bunnies II 

Cat-N-Around Cat Club
Cat-N-Around Cat Club 2007 Annual Show
Hawkeye Cat Club 2004
Hawkeye Cat Club 2005
Chinchillas
Degus
Ferrets
Ferrets by BOB
Gerbils
Ground Squirrels
Guinea Pig
Hamsters I
Hamsters II
Hamsters III
Hamsters IV
Hamsters V
Hedgehogs
Kittens
Kids & Kittens
Mice
Mice Pets II
Parasites
Rats I
Rats II
Rats III
Rats, Hairless
S-T Opossums
Siberian Chipmunks
Sugar Gliders
Sugar Gliders II
Water Bottles

Bugs
Crabby 500
Crab 04 Results
Centipedes
Cray/Lobsters
Crayfish II
Crayfish III
Cray, Yucatan
Fiddler Crabs
Shrimp, Algae
Shrimp, Aqua
Shrimp, Orange Bee
Shrimp, Red
Shrimp, Flower

Shrimp, Ghost
Shrimp, Rudolph
Hermit Crabs
Hermit Crabs II
Madagas Roach
Mantids
Mini-Clams
Mini-Crabs
Patriot Crabs
Giant Millipedes
Red Claw Crabs
Reiman Butterfly
Spider, Black Widow
Snail, Apple
Snail, Colombian
Snail, Land
Snail, Malaysian

Snail, Mystery
Snail, Trapdoor 
Scorpions
Tarantulas
Tarantulas II
Tarantula Night 2006
TarantulaWeen VII
TarantulaWeen 9
Walking Stick
Misc. Bugs
Misc Bugs II  

Birds
Breeding Tips

Button Quail
Canaries

Cockatiels
Dove, Diamond
Dove, Ringneck
Finches
Love Birds
Parakeets
Pelleted Foods
Quaker Parrots

Parrot Pictures
Parrot Pix II

Parrot Pix III
Dave's Parrots


Lizards
Alligators
Anoles
Bearded Dragon

Beardies II
Calotes
Chamel, Jackson
Chamel, Panther
Chamel, Veiled
Crested Geckos
Gecko, Golden

Gecko, House
Gecko, Leopard
Gecko, Tokay
Horned "Toads"
Iguana New
Iguana Dragons
Iguana Q&A I
Iguana Q&A II
Iguana Training
Iguana Update
Cool Iguana Pics
Knight Anoles
Monitors, Nile

Monitors, Savana
Monitors, Water

Salmonella
Skinks
Skinks Blue-Tongue
Tegus
Uromastyx maliensis
Water Dragon
Misc Lizards
Misc Lizards 2
Misc Lizards 3
Misc Lizards 4
Misc Lizards 5

Misc Lizards 6
Misc Lizards 7
Misc Lizards 8
Misc Lizards 9
Misc Lizards 10


Snakes
Anacondas
Boa, Rosy

Boa, Red-Tail
Corn Snake
Garter Snake
Green Snake
Kids/Corn Snakes
Kids/Red-Tail Boas

Kids at Pet Expo 1

Kids at Pet Expo 2

Kids at Pet Expo 3

Kids at Pet Expo 4

Kids at Pet Expo 5
King & Milk
Python, Ball
Python, Burmese

Snakes Alive
Snakesgiving
Snakesgiving II

Misc Snake Pix
Misc Snakes II

Misc Snakes III  

Turtles/Tortoises
Box, Asian
Box, USA
Races
Snapping

Spiny

Sulcata
Water

Western Painted

Live Foods
Blackworms
Blood Worms
Br Shrimp I
Br
Shrimp II
Crayfish 1
Crayfish 2
Crayfish 3 
Crickets
Dandelions
Daphnia
Earthworms
Feeder Goldfish
Fruit Flies
Ghost Shrimp

Glass Worms

Grindal Worms
Infusoria
Mealworms
Microworms
Rosy Reds

Super Worms

Wax Worms
White Clouds

 

Decorating
Bubbles
Driftwood
Gravel
Plastic Plants
Rocks
Slow Growing Plants

Miscellaneous
Bob's Acclimation

How to Start
How to Add New Fish
How to Keep Healthy
Which Fish Get Along?
10 Questions to Ask
What is Ich?
Under Gravel Filters

Sponge Filters
Cloudy Water

Cool Water Tanks
Gravel Vacuums
Preventing Disease
Feeding to the Max
Frozen Foods
Green Water
Nasty Chemicals
Overfeeding
Power Filters
Rift Lake Salts
Quarantine Tank
Mini-Tank
2nd Av Bait

Pet World Visit
Dandelions

Aquatic Plants
Amazon Swords
More Swords
Sword Plants III

Anubias
Anacharis
Aponogetons
A. boivinianus
A. fenestralis
A. ulvaceous
Aquarium/Bog
Banana Plant
Bolbitis
Bunch
Bunch Plants II
Cryptocorynes
Crystalwort
Dwarf Lily
Grassy
Grassy II
Hornwort
Hygrophila
Lace
Java Fern I
Java Fern II
Java Fern III
Java Fern IV
Java Moss
Moss Balls
Onion
Vermiculite

Watersprite

Different Watersprite

Water Monitor Factoids

Origin

Comes from S.E. Asia and grows six to nine feet

Day Temperature

85o to 95o gradient, 90o to 100o for basking

Substrate

Mat, dirt, sand, gravel, or bark

Climbing Area

Provide stout limbs and rocks to climb on

Security

Prefers a security box or hiding place

Humidity

Provide a large water pan and mist babies often

Foods

Insects, fish, crayfish, rodents, birds, eggs

Supplements

Calcium and Vitamins

Lighting

Full-Spectrum or Sunlight


LA
Young 12" water monitor.  Snake-like movements.  Easy to handle.  Likes water.
  

Honkers:  These cute snake-tongued guys grow into huge honker lizards that eventually need their own room.  You can keep the babies in aquariums for a while, but these guys will all need a bathtub-sized swimming pool when fully grown.  These are definitely not a lizard for youngsters to keep.  And youngsters should stay away from all monitors altogether.

LA
Little guys like to hide.  Give them a cave or diggable substrate.

Environment:  As their name implies, water monitors live near water.  When young, they love climbing and swimming.  As they grow, they spend even more time in the water. Monitors need lots of swimming room and small ones love being misted.  Misting seems to invigorate them.

LA
Baby water monitors pig out on crickets.  Get 'em on goldfish sooner than later.

LA
Just relaxing by the pool.

Temperature:  Monitors demand 85o or better during the day.  Too cool temperatures make them susceptible to disease.  High temperatures speed up their metabolism.  This helps them digest their food more easily and fight off diseases.  Sick monitors often respond to temperatures around 100o.  Take your ill monitor to a good lizard vet fast.

 

LA
This guy's looking more at my fingers than the goldfish.  Anybody for tongs?


Water monitors adapt to goldfish instantly.  They shake the heck out of them.

LA
Water monitors learn to eat from your hand fast (as soon as they get hungry).

Foods:  Feed the small guys gut-loaded crickets, grasshoppers, pinkie mice, small fish, eggs and canned or frozen monitor food.  You also need to check out nightcrawlers and canned insects.  Larger monitors eat larger goldfish (water monitors inhale them), mice, crayfish, rats, eggs, and birds.  If you give your monitor live rodents, you are asking for a scarred (and maybe scared) lizard.  (You would stop eating bacon and tomato sandwiches if they bit you in the face.)  Humanely killed rodents make a much safer food choice.  The new canned monitor foods make feeding them even easier.  Yes, monitors will eat canned dog food.  So will people.  We do not recommend it for you or your lizard.  Cost-wise, feeder goldfish make an economical food for little water monitors.  If you got the guts, feed them by hand.  Otherwise, use tongs.

LA
Slightly larger guy here.  Much wigglier but not a biter.  Not a hand-feeder yet.

LA
Large water monitors need bigger cages so they won't bonk their beaks.

LA
One week later he's all healed and ready to re-bonk his beak.

Lighting:  Like most reptiles, monitors need full-spectrum fluorescent lighting or daily sessions in real sunlight.  (Real sunlight is hard to provide and even harder to regulate.)  The closer they can climb to your bulbs, the better your bulbs work.

Supplements:  Because the bones of small water monitors grow so fast (one report said three inches in one month), your babies also need calcium and vitamin supplements dusted on their food.  If you give them pinkies (baby rodents), you will meet many of their mineral and vitamin needs.  Ditto goldfish.  Never depend on crickets alone.

 

Heat:  An under-cage heater plus a basking heat source make a good combination. Provide a range of temperatures if possible.  Heat rocks also provide a good basking site.  Clean yours often to discourage bacterial growth.

Water:  Monitors love playing in the water.  They also love turning over their water dish and making a royal mess.  They snake their head under it and flip it over.  Possibly trying to hide, looking for food, or just having fun.  Use a very heavy water container or buy a wet/dry vacuum cleaner.

LA
Half-grown water monitors especially like their water.  They stay fairly mellow.

LA
And, of course, these guys can bite -- but not often.

LA
Another water dragon.

LA
As we said, they're fairly mellow.

LA
But if you pester your water monitor enough ...

LA
Water monitors not only bite, they also have sharp toenails.

Handling: Water monitors tame quite easily.  Handle them often. The smallest ones are easiest to work with.  Once they get over four feet, you need to take extra care when handling them.  Any critter that can eat a rabbit can also nail you.

LA
Attentive looking.  Really wants to make a run for it.

LA
He did make a run for it.  Big guys like this are too large to hide.

Inquisitive:  Monitors like to explore their surroundings.  Give them branches and rocks to climb on and caves to explore.  If you provide them a box of sand or dirt, they will probably burrow into it for fun.  They like variety.

Tail Info:  Half your monitor’s length is tail.  Unlike iguanas (and many other lizards), monitors do not “drop” their tails.  Grabbing them by the tail is still not a good habit to get into.  Lots of monitors can speedily snake around and give you a bite that leaves a scar that  lasts longer than a tattoo on your butt.  Hurts almost as much, too.  Monitors also do not run from very many predators.  In the wild, they prey on crocodile eggs.  They do run from hostile momma crocs.  Most monitors prefer to start fights rather than run from them.  


Sumatran water monitor babies handle quite easily. 

Last Words:  Remember that monitors walk around in their own digested food.  This means they probably carry salmonella.  Wash your hands after handling all reptiles.  Also, don’t feel too bad if your monitor never grows to full size.  Full-grown monitors need way lots of room.  LA.

© 1997, © 2003, © 2004, © 2005  LA Productions

3600 Sixth Avenue

Corner of Sixth & Euclid Avenues

Des Moines, IA 50313

515 283-0300

Home

Fish

Other Stuff

Anabantids
Betta Leaf 
Betta Breed 1
Betta Breed II
Betta Info
Betta  Housing
Betta Pla Kat
Choc Gourami
Climbing Perch
Gourami Pix
Kiss. Gourami
Osphronemus
Pearl Gourami
More Pearls
Paradise Fish  
Snakehead
Spawn Gourami
T. trichopterus

Catfish  
Banjo
Bullheads
Bull Sharks
Channel  
Corydoras
Cory Pics
Electric
Glass
Hoplos
Otocinclus
Pangassius
Pictus
Plecostomus
Pleco Bristle
Pleco Costly I
Pleco Costly II
Pleco Costly III
Pleco Costly IV
Pleco Costly V
Pleco Costly VI

Raphael
Red-Tail
Shovelnose
Sun
Synodontis
Synodontis petricola
Turushuki Catfish
Upside-down
Misc Catfish
Misc Catfish II
Misc Catfish III

Misc Catfish IV
Misc Catfish V

Cichlids
African I
African II
African III
African IV

Amer. Small
Amer.  Med 
Amer. Large
Angelfish I
Angelfish II
Angelfish III
Angelfish IV
More Angels
Buttikoferi

Chocolate
Chocolate Spawning
Cichlid Decor
Cichlid Food
Convicts
Convicts 2
Convicts 3
Convicts 4
Dempseys
More Dempseys
Jack Dempsey Spawn
Discus
Dither Fish
Flower Horn
Green Terror
Jaguar
More Jaguars
Jaguar Spawning

Jaguar Spawning II
Jewel Fish
Keo's Flowerhorns
Keo's Flowerhorns II
Kribensis

Oscars 1
Oscars 2
Oscars 3
Oscars 4
Oscars 5
More Oscar
More Oscar II
More Oscars III
More Oscars 2007
Peacock Bass
Red Devils
More Red Devil
 
Red Parrots

Red Parrots Spawn
Pikes
Pink Tilapia
Rams
Red Bay Snooks
Roger Stephen's Cichlids
Severums
More Severums
Severums III

Tanganyikans
Texas Cichlid
Texas Spawning

Texas Spawn II
Uarus
Misc Cichlids I
Misc Cichlids II
Misc Cichlids III
Misc Cichlids IV
Misc Cichlids V
Misc Cichlids VI
Misc Cichlids VII
Misc Cichlids VIII

Livebearer  
Guppies
Half-Beak
Mollies
Moons/Platys
Swordtails

Minnows/Tetra 
Barbs
Barbs, Black
Barbs, Gold

Barbs, Rosy
Barbs, Tiger
Barbs, Tinfoil

Danios

Distochodus
Fathead Minnows
Headstanders
Killies, Econ.
Killies, Golden
Killies, Peat
Killies, Plant
Misc Mini-Fish
Pacús 

Piranha, Black
Piranha, Red
Rainbowfish

Rainbowfish, Dwarf Neon
Rainbowfish, Irian

Silver Dollar
Tetras, Larger
Tetras, Smaller
Tetras, Spawn
Tetra, Vampire
White Clouds

Pond Fish
Carp
Channel Cat
Gold. Comets
Gold. Fantails
More Fantails
Gold. Oriental  
Gold Oriental II 
Gold. Spawn
Kloubec Koi Farm
Koi
Koi II

Koi III
Plecostomus
Shubunkins

Oddballs  
Af. Butterfly
Af. Lungfish
Af. Mudskippr
American Eel
Archer Fish

Arowana
Bichirs
Borneo Suckers
Brackish I
Brackish II
Brackish III
Brackish IV
Brackish V
Michael Troung's Pix
Butterfly/Wasp
Chameleon Fish
Chromides

Chin Alg Eater
Crazy Fish
Crocodile Fish

Datnioides

Dojo
Electric Cat
Electric Eels

Elephant Nose
Exodon paradoxus
Flounder
Gars
 
Glassfish
Goby Bumble
Goby Butterfly
Goby Dragon
Goby Misc.
Half-Beak
Knife African
Knife Clown
Knife Ghost
Loach Botias
Loach Clown
Loach Kuhli
Loach Weather
Moray Eel  
Peacock Gudgeons
Polypterids
Puffers

Ropefish
Scats
Siam Algae Eater
 
Spiny Eels 
Snakehead
Stingray
Stonefish
Wasp Fish
Wolffish
Wrest Half-Beak
Misc Mini-Fishes
Misc Odd
Misc Odd II
Misc Odd III
Misc Odd  IV

Misc Odd V

Sharks  
Bala
Black
Bull
Chinese Hi-Fin Banded
Iridescent
Red-Tail
Siam Algae Eater

Pond Info 
Blank Park Zoo
Bob Humphrey's Ponds
Cattails
Maffett Reservoir
DMACC's Pond
D.M. Botanical Center
D.M. Water Works
Dr. Ervanian's Garden
Duckweed

Dwarf Lily
Ewing Park "Pond"
Jan & Chris's Water Garden
John McDonald's Pond
Hall's Four Acres
Klines' Water Garden
Landscaper Effects
Mini-Pond Pics
Pioneer Corn's Pond
Pond Fish Predators
Pond on 38th Street 
Pond Pics
Pond Plants
More Pond Plants
Pond Plants III
Reiman Ponds
River Scenes
Riverview Island
Selin's Water Gardens
Selin's Japanese Garden
Tom's Used Cars Pond
Urbandale Duck Pond
Water Hyacinth
Water Lettuce
Wild Ponds