Skip to Content

How To Handle Savannah Monitors Correctly

savannah monitor handling

Savannah Monitors are intelligent and curious reptiles, capable of even recognizing their owners and following commands! Handling these reptiles properly is key to creating a trusting relationship between you and your pet. But how exactly do you handle Savannah Monitors?

When handling Savannah Monitors, it is important to remain confident and calm. Place both hands under the belly of the monitor, gently lift them up while supporting the head, chest, and hind limbs with one hand and use your other arm to support the tail. 

In this article, we’ll discuss in detail how to handle Savannah Monitors correctly, the consequences of incorrect handling, and when to avoid contact with your monitor. So, let’s dive in!

Do Savannah Monitors Like Being Handled?

Savannah monitors are particularly amicable and enjoy being held. They are a beloved species known for their ability to become accustomed to handling with enough time and effort.

Unlike other monitor types, Savannahs demonstrate less agitation or fear around humans– making them great companions! 

What’s more impressive? Your pet may even recognize you as an individual from others and actively search out your company due to its high intelligence level.

Nonetheless, if your savannah monitor is not a captive-bred baby or handled too often can result in an uncomfortable bite for the unsuspecting victim- true for all types of monitors.

At What Age Can You Start Handling Savannah Monitors

The best time for beginning to handle a Savannah monitor is when it is between four and six months old.

This is the age when they’re still young enough to be relatively docile and bond with their owners, yet mature enough to be comfortable with handling. 

This is because Juvenile Savannah monitors are born with an inherent fear of predators, so when they see you – a large and loud creature – all their predator-avoidance instincts will kick in.

As these reptiles grow older and wiser though, their wariness starts to subside as curiosity takes over.

As a monitor lizard ages, it becomes increasingly more difficult to train them. For example, an adult aggressive savannah monitor is particularly hardy and requires patience and skill for successful training.

How Long To Wait Before Handling a New Savannah Monitor 

When you get a Savannah Monitor, it is important to give them time to adjust after bringing them home. This adjustment period can last anywhere from one to two weeks. 

The purpose of this adjustment period is to give the Savannah Monitor time to adjust to their new surroundings and become comfortable in their environment. During this time, the reptile should be left alone in its enclosure and not handled. 

How To Handle Savannah Monitors Correctly

The Savannah Monitor is one of the most gentle species in its genus, and handling it can be simplified by devoting sufficient time to interact with it regularly.

When it comes to picking up your Savannah Monitor, stick to the following steps for the best results!

1. Appropriate Time To Handle:

Can you handle a savannah monitor?

Although Savannah Monitors are diurnal lizards, meaning they’re active during daylight hours and rest at night, the ideal time to handle them is in the evening.

At this period of the day, these scaly friends tend to be more relaxed and less anxious than when you try handling them earlier in the day.

2. Approach Confidently & Slowly:

So, to pick Savannah Monitors correctly, it is important to approach them confidently. When you first get near Savannah Monitors, talk in a low voice, move slowly and avoid making any sudden movements. 

3. Sit Down:

Now sit down to get to your buddy’s level while facing him/her. Try not to look directly into their eyes or reach out your hands too quickly. Instead, take things slowly and allow your scaly buddy to approach you.

4. Use Both Hands:

When picking up a Savannah Monitor, use both hands and move them slowly, giving the monitor time to adjust to your touch before picking it up.

Make sure that your hands are evenly distributed on both sides of the body, with your thumbs slightly up against their body to provide extra support.

5. Pick Up From Belly:

While picking up your savannah monitor, make sure to lift it from the bottom (belly) instead of picking it up from its back.

It is because grabbing a lizard from above can set off defensive mechanisms since this is how they are commonly preyed upon in nature.

6. Support Chest & Hind Limbs:

Once you have your savannah monitor in hand, ensure to support their chest, head, and hind limbs with the tail resting on your arm.

Since these reptiles are terrestrial creatures, they feel most comfortable when they have something beneath their feet – so be sure to provide it!

Key Points To Remember When Handling Savannah Monitors

  • Treat your monitor with respect, and never approach it aggressively.
  • To stay healthy and avoid potential infections, it is imperative that you always wash your hands before and after handling any reptile, as most reptiles carry the Salmonella bacteria.
  • When handling Baby Savannah Monitors for the first time, be sure to wear gloves as a precaution. These creatures can be defensive at first and may attempt to scratch or bite in order to protect themselves – don’t let their small size fool you!
  • Keep your hands away from the face and eyes of the Savannah Monitor: They do not enjoy being touched around their face or near their eyes as this may cause them to become stressed.
  • Make sure to take out your Savannah monitor only when it is active, not while it is resting.

Importance of Handling Savannah Monitors

Investing time into handling this will ensure that your Savannah Monitor responds positively to you in the long term.

Frequent handling will help to build trust, create a bond and get them used to your presence. Doing so allows you to become familiar with their behavior and body language, making it easier for you to tame them & understand their needs. 

Through handling, Savannah Monitors can learn that humans are beneficial and provide them with love beyond food and water. 

Side Effects of Improper Handling

how often can I handle a savannah monitor

Always handle your monitor with care and avoid exerting excessive pressure on them, as it may cause distress. Improper handling of Savannah Monitors can have serious consequences. 

  • It can cause the monitor to become stressed, leading to an increased risk of illness and injury.
  • Improper handling can lead to a decrease in their lifespan as it puts them under immense stress. 
  • It may cause a Savannah Monitor to become aggressive or defensive, leading to biting and scratching. 
  • Also, they can become scared and stressed, leading them to hide from their owners. 

Therefore, it is important to handle Savannah’s Monitors correctly in order to keep them healthy and happy.

How Often Can You Handle Savannah Monitors

Savannah monitors can potentially be handled every day. It is generally recommended to start with just two or three short handling sessions each day.

During these short handling sessions, gently pick up your monitor and give them some positive reinforcement like touching their bodies & petting on the tail.

How Long (per Session) Can You Handle Savannah Monitors

For baby Savannah Monitors, the ideal length of each session should not exceed five minutes.

As your little one becomes more and more comfortable with you, increase their handling up to 10-15 minutes per encounter until they reach adulthood.

At that point, feel free to keep them in your hands for a maximum hour at any given time!

When Should a Savannah Monitor NOT Be Handled?

Do Savannah Monitors Like Being Handled?

Although your savannah monitor may become accustomed to being handled and even friendly, there are certain occasions where handling should be avoided.

At Feeding Time

Savannah’s monitors are food aggressive. When their food is present, they may become agitated and defensive.

It could lead to aggression and may put the handler at risk of being bitten or scratched. With their sharp teeth, claws, and tail whips, savannah monitors are expert predators that will keep you at bay.

A baby monitor’s pinch isn’t that painful; however, a fully-grown monitor’s bite could break your skin! It is best to avoid handling your savannah monitor during feeding time.

Tip: If you want to know how bad savannah monitor bites are, read our article here!

During Shedding/Molting

Throughout the year, Savannah monitors undergo a process of molting and shedding their skin. During this time, they can be quite uncomfortable and itchy due to the change. 

It is important to abstain from handling your monitor during the shedding period as it may result in premature pulling off of old skin & damaging the new layer underneath.

When They Are Sick or Injured

When your savannah monitor is not feeling well or injured, it is best to refrain from handling them as it may further complicate the situation.

If you must handle them for medical purposes, make sure you have gloves and other protective gear available. 

Furthermore, when they are injured, it is best to seek immediate veterinarian help and avoid handling it until the injury has healed.

If the Handler Is Inexperienced

Savannah monitors require a knowledgeable and experienced handler to handle them properly. 

If you are new to handling savannah monitors, it is best to practice with someone who knows how to do it correctly and not attempt it on your own. 

Not in Mood

When can you start handling a savannah monitor?

Your monitor may display signs of distress when not in the mood for handling, such as hissing and snapping its mouth, enlarging its throat and standing on hind legs, running away to hide, or whipping its tail. 

Until it calms down, give them their space. Respect their boundaries until they feel secure enough to be handled again; then, you can take advantage of this moment!

If your pet reptile’s usual level of activity doesn’t return after a few days, it may be time for an appointment with a reptilian vet to ensure that they are not sick.

Final Thoughts

Savannah Monitors can make very rewarding pets when handled correctly and with respect. With the right knowledge and care, they can be beautiful creatures to own and interact with. 

Remember that every Savannah Monitor has their own personality and needs, so it’s important to be patient and observe how they respond when you handle them in order to keep them healthy and happy.

You can give your Savannah Monitor a safe and enriching home with the proper guidance and understanding.

Pierre And The ReptileCraze Team
Latest posts by Pierre And The ReptileCraze Team (see all)