5- Ornate monitor :
Ornate vs. Nile Monitors
courtesy to : panoptesv.com/HBD/ornatevsnile.html
Ornate and Nile monitors are often confused. Although they have somewhat similar markings, they are very different animals, and they are now recognized as separate species. There are many simple ways to tell them apart, however.
Perhaps the easiest way if you are now to monitors is to look at the tongue. A Nile monitor has a dark blue or purple-blue tongue. An ornate monitor has a pink tongue. Any alert monitor will flick its tongue, it should not be hard to entice a healthy monitor to show you its true colors by waving your hand in its direction.
Above, Nile monitor tongue. Below, ornate monitor tongue.
A second method is to examine the rows of spots running down the back. Nile monitors have around 7 bands of spots between their shoulders and hips. Ornates have around 5 bands. The spots of an ornate are generally larger and fewer, their markings bigger and bolder than the fine and delicate patterns of the Nile monitor.
2-Ornate monitors :
courtesy to : panoptesv.com/HBD/ornate.html
Ornate monitors are a species little known to science, yet well established in the pet trade. They are an African forest monitor, living in the impenetrable deepness of the Congo rain forest of Western Africa. Until recently, they had been considered a subspecies of the Nile monitor, resulting in much confusion. It is obvious to anyone who has worked with both varieties, however, that they are very different animals. I have written a web page here explaining the difference.
Although no studies have been done on the ornate monitor in the wild, they are probably a typical semi-aquatic large monitor in many ways. They are predators and scavengers, eagerly eating most any source of food that is vaguely meat-like, from rats and snakes to crabs, insects, and clams. The head of the ornate monitor is among the most powerful and robust of any monitor species, they undoubtedly use their jaws like nutcrackers to break open snails, clams, and crabs for the meat inside. Like all monitors, they love eggs, and will crack eggs in their jaws, hold their head up, and let the juices dribble down their throats.
Ornate monitors take readily to water, they are probably semi-aquatic in lifestyle, living close to streams, ponds, lakes, and river banks in their jungle home. They are also good climbers, diggers, and runners, however, and by no means confined to a watery existence.
Above, the bands of spots of a Nile monitor. Below, the bands of spots of an ornate monitor.
Third, ornate monitors are a much heftier lizard than the relatively slender Nile monitors. This is particularly evident in the head; while Niles have a robust head for a monitor, that of an ornate is positively massive. The body, limbs, and tail of the ornate monitor are generally stockier, as well. With experience, you will be able to tell these two species of monitors apart with a casual glance.
The three pictures above are of Nile monitors, the three below are of ornate monitors.
As hatchlings, the bodies of the Niles and ornates are not yet fully developed, so pictures are included below of both so you can get practice distinguishing the hatchlings.
The above pictures are of young Nile monitors, the pictures below are of young ornate monitors.
Varanus ornatus is an obsolete name of monitor lizards native to West and Middle Africa. Comprehensive molecular analyses of the group have demonstrated that animals previously assigned to "Varanus ornatus" do not constitute a valid taxon and are actually polymorphisms of two different species; Varanus stellatus and Varanus niloticus.Consequently Varanus ornatus is considered a synonym of Varanus niloticus and "ornate monitor" is a casual term that refers to forest forms of either species (V. niloticus or V. stellatus). Until 1997, the ornate monitor was considered a subspecies of the Nile monitor. It was subsequently described as a separate species on the basis of reduced number of ocelli rows on the body, a light coloured tongue and a more massive build. More recent work based on a large sample size using mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequences indicates that Varanus ornatus is not a valid species and that animals with the diagnostic appearance belong either of two sister species of Nile monitor. Animals described as ornate monitor lizards are native to closed canopy forests in West and Middle Africa.
The back is dark – olive green to black – with cross bands of yellow or cream color ocelli plus additional bands on the tail. The ventral side is yellowish with gray banding. The number of ocelli bands on the body, four, or five, was supposed to distinguish V. ornatus from V. niloticus, which has from six to nine. The markings fade somewhat as the animal matures. Ornate monitors are quite large and can grow up to two metres in length.
Detail of head and claws
Adult female ornate monitor (V. ornatus)
For the external links , refrences click here to read the full wikipedia article
Ornate Monitor (Varanus Ornatus)
Care articles :
1- Captive care of Asian Water monitors, and African Ornate monitors.:
Caring for the Ornate monitor (Varanus ornatus), from Tropical West Africa, and the Asian Water monitor (V. salvator spp), in captivity can be one of the most rewarding experiences you will ever undertake with a reptile. Unfortunately, so many of these lizards die/ get given away within their first year or so, due to the misinformation that abounds on their captive care... These are NOT "beginner" reptiles, and should never be bought on impulse. They may be relatively cheap to buy, but need LOTS of hard work, are expensive to care for, and that will be for many, many years....
In my opinion, the bigger the better; there`s really no such thing as a "large enclosure" here in captivity, compared to their wild home ranges, we keep them in "shoe boxes".
The babies grow extremely quickly under optimum conditions, I feel it`s therefore less stressful to keep them in the same enclosure as long as possible.
The minimum size I would recommend for hatchlings would be approx 4L x 2.5W x 3H (feet)... (120 x 75 x 90cm). That height will enable a fairly deep substrate (12 inches is good, more if possible/required), which enables the animal/s to burrow, and it will also help with the humidity, and that size of tank also allows a good temperature gradient (most important).
A solid wooden cage with a glass front is good. All glass fish tanks are NOT suitable for the keeping of varanids, more especially with a screen lid; impossible to stabilise both temps and humidity, not to mention, they offer the animal/s no privacy....
Make sure there are lots of hiding places, they are extremely nervous and defensive by nature, everything that moves is a perceived threat... Stress is unhealthy, in extreme cases, it`s also a killer...
Either a soil or sand/soil mix, consistent enough so that there`s no chance it could collapse on the monitor/s when they tunnel. I`ve also used Orchid bark (or similar), with some success.
Water and cage furnishings:
As these are semi aquatic monitors, a pool/water dish is required, large enough so they can soak, but not too deep for the youngsters, make sure they can get in and out easily. They will probably use the water bowl as a toilet, so change daily. I have a large pond with an external filter which helps keep the water clean, it`s heated to approx 85f (30c).
Strong, firmly fixed branches for climbing. They spend much of their time in trees for the first year or so (in the wild), and they have a semi-prehensile tail as youngsters, and are good climbers (even as adults).
ALL varanid species need heat, and lots of it. Their activity metabolism can exceed that of a resting mammal of similar size, which also means they need to consume relatively large amounts of food in comparison to most other reptiles, in order to fuel their high energy consumption.
I recommend daytime ambient (air), temperatures of between approx 75f (24c) on the cool side, to approx 120 to 140f (50 to 60c), in the basking spot (the basking spot is a SURFACE temp), the babies/juveniles heat up very quickly. Nighttime, no lower than 75f (24c). Without those relatively high basking temps, they cannot function efficiently, and they will not thrive, or show their natural behaviours.
So many new keepers (and not-so-new), keep them under-metabolised. whilst they may linger for fairly long periods, they usually die long before their potential life expectancy...
A digital hygrometer/thermometer is a must in my opinion, the analogue types can be very inaccurate...
Both these species should have a fairly high humidity (between aprox 60 to 90%), although obviously, this will be lower around the basking area, which is quite acceptable.
I prefer to use some supplementary lighting, mainly because my enclosures are relatively large, and I find with just the basking area bulbs, the rest of the tank can be quite dark. A normal household fluorescent tube emits some UVA (not UVB), and is usually much cheaper than the "reptile" type.
Most people these days are using the halogen light bulbs for the basking area, these can be fixed in a row of 2 or 3, to offer the animal heat over it`s whole body. They can be used in fairly low wattages (40 or 50w flood), and positioned fairly close to the monitor, this also means they don`t dry out/overheat the rest of the enclosure, and of course, much cheaper than the high wattage type (mercury vapour lamps).. Either an infrared bulb or ceramic heat emitter can be used during the night if required.
Although I`m presently using the high UVB/heat mercury vapour lamps (Megaray), I have now been convinced that providing these animals are kept at optimum temp levels etc, and offered WHOLE animal prey (even almost exclusively rodents), they remain in good health, and productive for many years, without the use of the UVB emitting lamps.
So while there is absolutely no evidence to suggest UVB lamps are harmful when used according to the manufacturers instructions, it seems clear they are not needed in captivity with varanids when ALL the other parameters are met...
Foods and feeding:
I offer the babies/juveniles insects (dusted with a vitamin/mineral), small whole fish, other sea foods, snails, rodents (pinky mice are not very nutritious, very little protein, and little calcium, as the skeleton isn`t formed), I cut up fuzzies while still frozen, not too messy (cut in half, just slice along the length), or f/k. Feed hatchlings/juveniles daily (their metabolism is at it`s highest), as much as they will eat.
Reduce feeding frequency as they come into adulthood, bearing in mind the amount of exercise they`re getting, which compared to their wild counterparts, is extremely small.
Important: Lean meats, your own recipe turkey diets etc, are NOT what`s best!
Please be aware of the wounds these animals can inflict (even accidently), and remember; they are NOT "aggressive", just defensive.......
If you cannot afford to properly house, feed, medical treatment if needed, etc, etc, please don`t get them in the first place.
Enjoy them for what they are; just amazingly beautiful, highly intelligent, sophisticated animals, who just want to be monitors.
They deserve our utmost respect, it`s never about "luck", it`s what you actually DO to support them in every way that brings success....
The ornate monitor is a stout beast, with powerful, robust proportions. They have a massive triangular head with a distinctly bowed lower jaw. The neck is long (although not as proportionaly long as that of many other monitors) with a distendable throat pouch; when not distended, the skin of the throat pouch hangs in folds about the neck and throat. The stocky, muscular limbs have long digits tipped with large talons. The tail is long, thick and muscular near the base, tapering to a whiplash at the end, and keeled along most of its length. Their markings are similar to that of the Nile monitor, although their patterns are uniformly bigger and bolder than the delicate patterns of their slenderer cousins. Their base color is typically grey or grey-brown with yellow or cream spots. The limbs are marked with spots; hash marks extending across the upper and lower jaws obscure the opening of the mouth; a dark stripe goes through the eye and merges with a series of chevrons marching down the neck, which subsequently break up into spots crossing the back in distinct bands, which then merge into solid rigs encricling the tail. The throat and sides are marked with distinct reticulations, and narrow dark lines cross a light colored belly. The tongue is long, narrow, forked, and pink in color. The adult size of this animal can range from a little less than a meter to up to two and a half meters.
As pets, my experience is that ornate monitors are more trusting of their human captors than Nile monitors, some become quite docile. Still, not all animals of this species are friendly by any means, some will remain aloof or untrusting despite gentle treatment. Compared to their behavior towards humans, their relationships between themselves seem more antagonistic than those of most monitors. Those I have kept, at least, seem to be born bullies. They harrass and cruelly dominate those that are smaller than themselves, often employing bites to the head. How they can reproduce with an attitude like this, I am not sure. Maybe mine are atypical; maybe mine have all, by coincidence, been the same sex.
The care of ornate monitors is practically identical to that of the argus monitors. Ornates are, however, better equipped for dealing with hard shelled prey, such as snails and crayfish, although these are not neccessary in their diet. Ornates do not dig quite so enthusiastically as arguses, although they do like to dig their own burrow and a deep dirt substrate that holds a burrow is still the best choice.
Other websites :
Ornate Monitor Update (February 2015)
handling my new ornate monitor
Giant ornate monitor eating
SPECTACULAR ORNATE NILE MONITOR!
Reptile Enclosure update for ornate monitor lizard
Ornate Nile monitor eating a bull frog.
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MONITORS ... Introduction
Monitors Species :
MONITORS ... Introduction
Monitors Species :