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Thread: Monitor Care & Natural History; Zoo & Pet Experiences

  1. #1
    findiviglio
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    Default Monitor Care & Natural History; Zoo & Pet Experiences

    Hi All,
    I’ve had the good fortune of caring for 15-20 monitor species during my zoo career. From the diminutive Storr’s to the massive Water, Lace, Crocodile and Komodo Monitors, all have instilled in me the feeling that they were, somehow, “more complicated” than other reptiles. Indeed, recent studies have confirmed that they are, among lizards, highly advanced. While some are too large for the average household, several moderately-sized and even dwarf varieties are being bred by hobbyists, and all make fascinating and responsive captives.
    The following information can be applied to the care of Savannah, Black Tree, Nile, Merten’s and most other monitors.
    Read article here Monitor Lizard Care, Natural History and Behavior - An Overview That Reptile Blog
    Please also check out my posts on Twitter http://bitly.com/JP27Nj.

    Thanks, Frank
    My Bio, with photos of animals I’ve been lucky enough to work with That Pet Place welcomes Zoologist/Herpetologist Frank Indiviglio to That Reptile Blog | That Reptile Blog That Reptile Blog
    Face Book http://on.fb.me/KckP1m

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  3. #2
    TahneeNicole1989
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    Default Re: Monitor Care & Natural History; Zoo & Pet Experiences

    My husband and i are extremely interested in owning emerald tree monitors in the future once we have more experience with reptiles. Glad too know there is someone on here who knows about them!

  4. #3
    findiviglio
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    Default Re: Monitor Care & Natural History; Zoo & Pet Experiences

    Quote Originally Posted by TahneeNicole1989 View Post
    My husband and i are extremely interested in owning emerald tree monitors in the future once we have more experience with reptiles. Glad too know there is someone on here who knows about them!
    Thanks for your note..Fascinating animals; they need space, but a proper cage is feasible due to their small size. We bred them at the Bx Zoo, let me know if you need any info in the future. Good luck and enjoy, Frank

  5. #4
    100+ Post Member Striped marsh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Monitor Care & Natural History; Zoo & Pet Experiences

    Very interesting, Lace monitors have interested me a lot I always head up to north Victoria and the Northern Territory in search of reptiles, lace monitors seem to be the most common to find
    ~ Australian frogs Gotta love them

  6. #5
    findiviglio
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    Default Re: Monitor Care & Natural History; Zoo & Pet Experiences

    Quote Originally Posted by Striped marsh View Post
    Very interesting, Lace monitors have interested me a lot I always head up to north Victoria and the Northern Territory in search of reptiles, lace monitors seem to be the most common to find

    Thank you...I'm jealous - lace monitors as "common"! They are so impressive in captivity, can't wait to get to Australia to see them in the wild. Enjoy, Frank

  7. #6
    TahneeNicole1989
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    Default Re: Monitor Care & Natural History; Zoo & Pet Experiences

    Well since you offered, what in your opinion would be a good beginner monitor for us to start out with?

  8. #7
    100+ Post Member poison's Avatar
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    Default Re: Monitor Care & Natural History; Zoo & Pet Experiences

    Quote Originally Posted by TahneeNicole1989 View Post
    Well since you offered, what in your opinion would be a good beginner monitor for us to start out with?
    Ackies (ridge tail monitors)

  9. #8
    findiviglio
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    Default Re: Monitor Care & Natural History; Zoo & Pet Experiences

    Quote Originally Posted by TahneeNicole1989 View Post
    Well since you offered, what in your opinion would be a good beginner monitor for us to start out with?
    Hi, much depends on your space/finances; I favor Storr's Monitor and other small speciues, as they are more easily accommodated in most homes, but they tend to be very expensive, Best, Frank

  10. #9
    100+ Post Member poison's Avatar
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    Default Re: Monitor Care & Natural History; Zoo & Pet Experiences

    Though the smaller monitor its self is much more expensive then a $20 sav the care for an ackie is much cheaper then a sav you will blow hundreds of dollars on a proper sav enclosure while you can build a proper ackie enclosure for around $100 maybe less. Feeding a larger lizard isn't cheap either. But if you want a larger monitor i say go for it but do your research

  11. #10
    findiviglio
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    Default Re: Monitor Care & Natural History; Zoo & Pet Experiences

    Quote Originally Posted by poison View Post
    Though the smaller monitor its self is much more expensive then a $20 sav the care for an ackie is much cheaper then a sav you will blow hundreds of dollars on a proper sav enclosure while you can build a proper ackie enclosure for around $100 maybe less. Feeding a larger lizard isn't cheap either. But if you want a larger monitor i say go for it but do your research
    A good recommendation, thank you, Generally so much more to see with the smaller species as well, since even in zoos it's difficult to give larger species the space they need if they are to carry out most of their natural behaviors, Frank

  12. #11
    Lixra
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    Default Re: Monitor Care & Natural History; Zoo & Pet Experiences

    Quote Originally Posted by findiviglio View Post
    Thank you...I'm jealous - lace monitors as "common"! They are so impressive in captivity, can't wait to get to Australia to see them in the wild. Enjoy, Frank
    The common lace monitors I wish!

    On a plus side, the breeder we got our little sulphur water girl off of has just gotten a pair of these! My husband's a professional photographer so he's invited us over to do a photo shoot with them as well with his Beaded lizards, and Black Salvator! I honestly can't wait! But they day this guy gets Mertens is the day I move in with him

  13. #12
    findiviglio
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    Default Re: Monitor Care & Natural History; Zoo & Pet Experiences

    Quote Originally Posted by Lixra View Post
    The common lace monitors I wish!

    On a plus side, the breeder we got our little sulphur water girl off of has just gotten a pair of these! My husband's a professional photographer so he's invited us over to do a photo shoot with them as well with his Beaded lizards, and Black Salvator! I honestly can't wait! But they day this guy gets Mertens is the day I move in with him
    I've not seen a black Salvator (melanisitc?)...would appreciate seeing a photo if time permits. Merten's are one of my fav's as well...at home on land,water, trees,...truly amazing; had the good fortune of breeding them at the Bx Zoo, made for a great exhibit when given a large glass fronted pond; You might enjoy this article (link to Pt I within text). pl keep me posted, enjoy, Frank

  14. #13
    Lixra
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    Default Re: Monitor Care & Natural History; Zoo & Pet Experiences

    I believe it is melanistic, yes. My husband was the one who spoke to him about going over to take pictures and I believe the phrase he used was just "black salvator". I know there's a (supspecies?) of water monitor Varanus salvator komaini, that's referred to as a "Black Monitor" so that might be it as well, don't know if you've had any experience with that particular one at all. I will, of course, share any pictures I get while I'm there

    As far as my "top 5" ... as far as ones one could keep in captivity, because then obviously Komodo's would be on the list

    1. Varanus salvator
    2. Varanus mertensi
    3. Varanus varius
    4. Varanus giganteus
    5. Varanus panoptes


  15. #14
    findiviglio
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    Default Re: Monitor Care & Natural History; Zoo & Pet Experiences

    Quote Originally Posted by Lixra View Post
    I believe it is melanistic, yes. My husband was the one who spoke to him about going over to take pictures and I believe the phrase he used was just "black salvator". I know there's a (supspecies?) of water monitor Varanus salvator komaini, that's referred to as a "Black Monitor" so that might be it as well, don't know if you've had any experience with that particular one at all. I will, of course, share any pictures I get while I'm there

    As far as my "top 5" ... as far as ones one could keep in captivity, because then obviously Komodo's would be on the list


    1. Varanus salvator
    2. Varanus mertensi
    3. Varanus varius
    4. Varanus giganteus
    5. Varanus panoptes

    Thanks...look forward to your photos; I cared for V. salvtor & varius for a time, also V. salvatorii (at Staten Is Zoo)...all quite amazing, very quick to pick up on routines, note changes, "predict" in a sense (wild V. varius (?) have been seen to head away from prey, circle around and ambush at burrow!); enjoy, Frank

  16. #15
    Lixra
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    Default Re: Monitor Care & Natural History; Zoo & Pet Experiences

    In regards to the salvators you've worked with, I remember you saying you had done research in their intelligence and wasn't sure if you could shed some light on something for me. Our male (Darwin, about 5.5 ft long including tail) has done something with us since day 1 (we've had him for about 3 years now), which I can only relate to as a "sighing" noise. It's definitely not hissing (he's very mellow and tame and seems to like attention) and our thoughts on it was, it was his way of trying to communicate with us. The reason we think this, is the length and loudness of the "sigh", varies depending on his mood so to speak. He does a very loud short one, if we're moving him from some place he wants to go or shouldn't be going, and a softer longer sigh if we're in his room talking to him or giving him a bath (things he seems to enjoy).

    I didn't know if you've noticed this with other salvators you've worked with, or any other large monitor for that matter.

  17. #16
    findiviglio
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    Default Re: Monitor Care & Natural History; Zoo & Pet Experiences

    Quote Originally Posted by Lixra View Post
    In regards to the salvators you've worked with, I remember you saying you had done research in their intelligence and wasn't sure if you could shed some light on something for me. Our male (Darwin, about 5.5 ft long including tail) has done something with us since day 1 (we've had him for about 3 years now), which I can only relate to as a "sighing" noise. It's definitely not hissing (he's very mellow and tame and seems to like attention) and our thoughts on it was, it was his way of trying to communicate with us. The reason we think this, is the length and loudness of the "sigh", varies depending on his mood so to speak. He does a very loud short one, if we're moving him from some place he wants to go or shouldn't be going, and a softer longer sigh if we're in his room talking to him or giving him a bath (things he seems to enjoy).

    I didn't know if you've noticed this with other salvators you've worked with, or any other large monitor for that matter.
    Hi Coleen,

    Thanks for your note. Most of what I've seen among salvators has been behavioral - i.e. calm when 1 person enters exhibit, runs off when 2 enter (usually means vet exam, etc.); escaped crocodile monitor peering around hiding spot to be sure to keep me in sight as I approach, but ducking back when I looked at her; wild monitors have been observed to move away from fleeing rabbit, circle back and ambush at burrow, etc. But other keepers have had observations similar to your own; I can't say for sure, but seems like you may be onto something. I can't do a literature search right now, but worthwhile to keep in mind...pleae keep me posted, and thanks for the interesting observation...I'll pass along to others as topic comes up as well, Frank

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