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Savannah Monitor Q&A

savannah monitor q&a


Q: What do savannah monitors eat in the wild?

A: In the wild, savannah monitors are opportunistic carnivores. They primarily eat a variety of invertebrates like beetles, centipedes, millipedes, spiders, and scorpions. They also consume small mammals, birds, amphibians, and other reptiles when available.

Q: How often should I feed my savannah monitor?

A: Juvenile monitors should be fed daily, while adults can be fed every 2-3 days. The frequency may vary depending on the specific needs and activity level of the individual monitor.

Q: What is the best staple diet for captive savannah monitors?

A: A balanced diet for captive savannah monitors includes a combination of insects (like crickets, roaches, and mealworms), occasional rodents, and varied invertebrates.

Q: Can savannah monitors eat chicken or beef?

A: While they can consume lean meats like chicken or beef, these should be offered in moderation and should not replace a varied diet that includes insects and rodents.

Q: How much food should a savannah monitor eat at one feeding?

A: The amount depends on the monitor’s size and age. Juveniles may eat 10-15 crickets, while adults might consume 2-4 adult mice or equivalent food per feeding. Always monitor the lizard’s weight and adjust the feeding accordingly.

Q: Is it safe to feed rodents to savannah monitors?

A: Yes, rodents like mice and rats can be a part of their diet but should be given in moderation as too many can lead to obesity.

Q: Do savannah monitors need calcium or vitamin supplements?

A: Yes, especially when they’re young. Dust their food with calcium and vitamin D3 supplements to prevent metabolic bone disease.

Q: Can savannah monitors eat insects? If so, which ones are best?

A: Yes, they can and should eat insects. Crickets, roaches, and mealworms are good staples.

Q: How do I ensure the food I give my savannah monitor is nutritious?

A: Offer a varied diet, gut-load insects before feeding, and supplement with essential vitamins and minerals.

Q: Is it okay to feed savannah monitors pre-killed prey?

A: Yes, pre-killed prey is often safer as it reduces the risk of the prey injuring the monitor.

Q: How can I gut-load insects before feeding them to my savannah monitor?

A: Feed the insects with a nutrient-rich diet, like vegetables and commercial insect food, 24-48 hours before offering them to the monitor.

Q: Can savannah monitors eat eggs or dairy products?

A: While they can occasionally consume eggs, dairy products are not natural to their diet and should be avoided.

Q: How important is water in a savannah monitor’s diet?

A: Fresh water should always be available. They drink when needed and also use water for soaking.

Q: Can I feed my savannah monitor wild-caught prey?

A: It’s risky as wild prey can carry parasites or pesticides. It’s safer to provide captive-bred prey.

Q: Are there any foods that are toxic or harmful to savannah monitors?

A: Avoid feeding them avocados, chocolate, caffeine, onions, or grapes. Always ensure food items are pesticide-free.

Q: How can I ensure variety in my savannah monitor’s diet?

A: Rotate between different types of food items and introduce new safe foods occasionally.

Q: Do savannah monitors require a different diet based on their age?

A: Yes, juveniles need daily feeding and more calcium, while adults eat less frequently.

Q: How can I tell if my savannah monitor is overweight or underweight?

A: Regular weighing and visual checks are key. A healthy monitor should have a robust but not bloated appearance.

Q: Is it normal for a savannah monitor to refuse food sometimes?

A: Occasional refusal can be normal, especially during shedding or brumation. However, prolonged refusal warrants a vet check.

Q: What are signs of dietary deficiencies in savannah monitors?

A: Signs may include lethargy, soft or deformed bones, difficulty walking, or a swollen jaw, indicative of metabolic bone disease.

savannah monitor questions and answers


Q: What is the ideal enclosure size for a savannah monitor?

A: Adult savannah monitors require spacious enclosures. A minimum size for an adult monitor would be 6 feet long, 4 feet wide, and 4 feet tall. However, bigger is always better when it comes to providing space for these active reptiles.

Q: What type of substrate is best for savannah monitors?

A: A mixture of play sand and organic topsoil is often recommended. This allows for natural digging behavior and holds humidity well.

Q: How do I set up the heating and lighting for a savannah monitor?

A: Savannah monitors require a basking spot of around 110-130°F and an ambient temperature of 80-90°F. This can be achieved using basking bulbs, ceramic heat emitters, or radiant heat panels. Additionally, UVB lighting is beneficial for their health and metabolism, so a UVB bulb should also be part of their setup.

Q: How can I replicate the savannah monitor’s natural habitat?

A: To replicate their natural environment, provide a substrate suitable for digging, hiding spots like logs or caves, and climbing branches. Make sure the humidity and temperature are consistent with their natural habitat, which is the grasslands and savannahs of Africa.

Q: What should the temperature gradient be in a savannah monitor’s cage?

A: The basking spot should be between 110-130°F, with an ambient temperature of 80-90°F. The cooler end of the enclosure can drop to around 75°F.

Q: How often should I clean the savannah monitor’s enclosure?

A: Spot clean daily for feces, leftover food, and shed skin. A full clean, with substrate replacement and a thorough disinfection of the enclosure, should be done every 4-6 weeks or as needed.

Q: How do I ensure proper humidity levels for a savannah monitor?

A: Maintain a humidity level of around 50-70%. This can be achieved by misting the enclosure, having a large water dish, or using a humidifier. A hygrometer can be used to monitor humidity levels.

Q: What are suitable hiding spots or shelters for savannah monitors?

A: They need secure hides to feel safe. Large logs, caves, or commercially available reptile hides are suitable.

Q: Can I use live plants in a savannah monitor’s enclosure?

A: While live plants can help maintain humidity, they may be uprooted by the active digging behavior of savannah monitors. Hardy plants like snake plants or pothos can be tried, but make sure they are non-toxic and pesticide-free.

Q: What type of water source is ideal for savannah monitors?

A: A large shallow water dish, big enough for them to soak in, is ideal. Ensure it’s cleaned regularly and always filled with fresh water.

Q: Are UVB lights essential for savannah monitors?

A: Yes, UVB lighting aids in vitamin D3 synthesis, which is crucial for calcium metabolism.

Q: How do I create a basking spot for a savannah monitor?

A: Use heat lamps or ceramic heat emitters positioned over a flat surface, like a large rock or log, to create a basking spot.

Q: How deep should the substrate be for burrowing?

A: A substrate depth of at least 12 inches is recommended, as savannah monitors are avid diggers.

Q: Can savannah monitors coexist with other reptiles in the same enclosure?

A: It’s not advisable. Savannah monitors can be territorial, and size differences can lead to one reptile injuring or even eating another.

Q: How do I ensure proper ventilation in the enclosure?

A: Ensure the cage has a mesh top or adequate ventilation slots. Proper ventilation prevents respiratory problems and mold growth.

Q: Are there specific materials to avoid in a savannah monitor’s habitat?

A: Avoid pine and cedar substrates as they contain harmful oils. Also, steer clear of heat rocks as they can burn the reptile.

Q: Can savannah monitors be housed outdoors?

A: In climates that mimic their natural habitat, they can be housed outside. The enclosure must be secure from predators and provide all the necessities, like shade, water, and basking spots.

Q: What kind of equipment do I need to monitor the enclosure’s environment?

A: Invest in a good quality thermometer, hygrometer, and UVB meter to monitor temperature, humidity, and UVB levels, respectively.

Q: How can I provide enrichment in my savannah monitor’s habitat?

A: Provide a variety of textures, hides, and climbing structures. Regularly change the layout of the enclosure and introduce new items, like toys or novel foods, for exploration.

Q: Are there any safety concerns I should be aware of when setting up a savannah monitor enclosure?

A: Ensure all heating elements are outside the cage or protected to prevent burns. Also, make sure there’s no way for the monitor to escape. Using locks or clips on enclosure doors can help secure them.

savannah monitor


Q: Are savannah monitors aggressive by nature?

A: Savannah monitors are not inherently aggressive, but they can be defensive, especially when threatened. With regular, gentle handling, many become quite docile in captivity.

Q: How can I tell if my savannah monitor is stressed?

A: Signs of stress include excessive hiding, refusal to eat, rapid breathing, hissing, and aggressive posturing. Frequent changes in environment and improper habitat conditions can also induce stress.

Q: Why is my savannah monitor digging in its enclosure?

A: Digging is a natural behavior for savannah monitors. They often burrow in the wild to escape heat, find food, or create a safe spot. Ensure their substrate is deep enough to allow this behavior.

Q: Do savannah monitors like to climb?

A: While they aren’t known for their climbing skills like some lizards, savannah monitors will explore and climb over obstacles in their habitat, especially when young.

Q: How do savannah monitors communicate?

A: These monitors use body language like hissing, inflating their body, wagging tails, and posturing. Vocalizations, though less common, can also be a means of communication.

Q: Why is my savannah monitor hissing?

A: Hissing is a defensive behavior, usually indicating fear, discomfort, or a warning to potential threats.

Q: Is it normal for a savannah monitor to bask for long hours?

A: Yes, basking is essential for digestion and regulating their body temperature. Ensure they have a proper basking spot with the correct temperatures.

Q: How do savannah monitors interact with other animals or reptiles?

A: Savannah monitors are solitary and can be territorial. It’s not advised to house them with other animals as they might display aggression or even view smaller animals as prey.

Q: Why does my savannah monitor puff up or inflate?

A: Inflating the body can be a sign of feeling threatened, making themselves appear larger to potential threats. It can also be a part of their breathing or stretching process.

Q: Do savannah monitors recognize their owners?

A: While they don’t recognize owners in the same way mammals might, they can become familiar with their keeper’s presence, especially if associated with positive experiences like feeding.

Q: How often do savannah monitors sleep?

A: They typically sleep during the night and are active during the day. However, they can have periods of inactivity or rest during daylight hours.

Q: Why is my savannah monitor rubbing its body against surfaces in the enclosure?

A: This behavior is often associated with shedding. The monitor is trying to loosen the old skin. Ensure they have rough surfaces or shedding aids.

Q: Can I tame a savannah monitor, and if so, how?

A: Yes, with regular and gentle handling, many monitors can become more docile. Start with short, positive interactions and gradually increase handling time.

Q: Why is my savannah monitor licking its environment?

A: Licking helps them explore and understand their environment. It’s a sensory action similar to how dogs or cats might sniff around.

Q: Do savannah monitors brumate like some other reptiles?

A: Savannah monitors don’t brumate in the same manner as some temperate-zone reptiles, but they might show reduced activity in cooler periods or when conditions aren’t optimal.

Q: How do savannah monitors react to their reflection?

A: They might interpret their reflection as another monitor, leading to territorial behaviors. It’s generally best to avoid highly reflective surfaces inside their enclosure.

Q: Is it normal for a savannah monitor to shed its skin?

A: Yes, like all reptiles, savannah monitors will shed their skin periodically as they grow.

Q: How can I tell if my savannah monitor is happy or content?

A: A “happy” monitor will be active, have a good appetite, and show curiosity about its surroundings without frequent signs of stress or aggression.

Q: Why is my savannah monitor wagging its tail?

A: Tail wagging can be a sign of excitement, agitation, or a defensive warning. Monitor the context in which it happens to understand its cause.

Q: Do savannah monitors exhibit any mating behaviors in captivity?

A: Yes, when provided with the right conditions and a potential mate, they might display courtship and mating behaviors, such as chasing, circling, or vocalizations.

Health and Wellness

Q: How long can a savannah monitor live in captivity?

A: With proper care, a savannah monitor can live 10-15 years, although some have been known to live up to 20 years.

Q: What’s the ideal temperature for a savannah monitor’s enclosure?

A: The basking area should be between 100-130°F (38-54°C), while the cooler side should be around 75-85°F (24-29°C).

Q: How often should I feed my savannah monitor?

A: Juveniles can be fed daily, while adults should be fed 2-3 times a week. Diet and frequency can vary based on the monitor’s size and age.

Q: Why is my savannah monitor lethargic?

A: Lethargy can be a sign of various issues, including incorrect temperatures, illness, or inadequate diet.

Q: How can I ensure proper humidity for my savannah monitor?

A: Maintain a humidity level of around 50-60%. This can be achieved by misting the enclosure and using substrates that retain moisture.

Q: Is shedding normal for savannah monitors?

A: Yes, savannah monitors will shed as they grow. Ensure they have proper humidity to aid in the shedding process.

Q: Why is my savannah monitor refusing to eat?

A: Refusing food can result from a variety of factors, including stress, illness, improper temperatures, or even natural fasting periods.

Q: What’s the best diet for a savannah monitor?

A: They are carnivores, so their diet should include appropriately-sized prey like insects, rodents, birds, and eggs.

Q: How can I tell if my savannah monitor is overweight?

A: Overweight monitors might have noticeable fat deposits, especially around the neck, legs, and base of the tail.

Q: Do savannah monitors need UVB lighting?

A: Yes, UVB lighting is essential for vitamin D3 synthesis, which helps them metabolize calcium and prevent metabolic bone disease.

Q: Why is my savannah monitor digging constantly?

A: Digging is a natural behavior. They might be trying to make a burrow, lay eggs, or regulate their body temperature.

Q: My savannah monitor seems aggressive. What should I do?

A: Provide a proper environment, minimize stress, and handle with care. Building trust gradually is essential.

Q: How can I ensure my savannah monitor has enough exercise?

A: Provide a spacious enclosure with climbing opportunities and allow supervised time outside the cage for exploration.

Q: Can I house multiple savannah monitors together?

A: Generally, it’s not recommended. They can be territorial, leading to fights and stress.

Q: How often should I clean my savannah monitor’s enclosure?

A: Spot cleaning should be done daily, while a full cleaning and substrate change should be done monthly.

Q: Why does my savannah monitor have a runny nose?

A: A runny nose can be an early sign of a respiratory infection. If it persists or is accompanied by other symptoms, consult a vet.

Q: Do savannah monitors need a water dish?

A: Yes, provide a large water dish for them to drink from and occasionally soak in.

Q: What are common parasites that can affect savannah monitors?

A: Internal parasites (like worms) and external parasites (like mites) can affect them. Regular vet check-ups can help detect and treat these issues.

Q: My savannah monitor’s eyes look cloudy. What does this mean?

A: Cloudy eyes can be a sign of an upcoming shed, but if it persists, it might indicate an eye infection or injury.

Q: Why is my savannah monitor’s feces discolored or unusual?

A: Diet often affects feces color. However, consistent irregularities might indicate dietary issues, parasites, or other health problems.

Pierre And The ReptileCraze Team
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