8- Savanna Monitor :
The savannah monitor (Varanus exanthematicus) is a medium-sized species of monitor lizard native to Africa. The species is known as Bosc's monitor in Europe, since French scientist Louis Bosc first described the species. It belongs to the subgenus Polydaedalus, along with the Nile, the ornate and other monitors.
Least Concern (IUCN 3.1)
Scientific classification :
the diet of animals less than two months old; orthopterans (especially Brachytrupes), scorpions and amphibians were the most common prey of animals six to seven months old
Temperament in captivity .
The Savannah monitor is a rather popular lizard pet in the trade. This is due to their docile disposition and they are one of the least-likely-to-bite monitors with proper handling. Household pets such as cats and dogs will likely not be seen as a threat if the monitor is raised alongside them.
Its range extends throughout sub-Saharan Africa from Senegal east to Sudan and south almost to the Congo River and Rift Valley, where they are replaced by V. albigularis. V. exanthematicus is primarily a ground-dwelling species that shelters in burrows, although it is sometimes found in bushes or low trees. In the coastal plain of Ghana, V. exanthematicus juveniles are often associated with the burrows of the giant cricket Brachytrupes.
Varanus exanthematicus is listed as Least Concern by IUCN. The species is hunted for its leather and meat and for the international pet trade. An average of 30,574 live specimens were imported into the US each year between 2000 and 2009; total imports of live specimens into the US between 2000 and 2010 was 325,480 animals. During the same period, 1,037 skins, shoes, and products of the species were imported into the US. Trade in live animals comes mainly from Ghana (235,903 animals exported between 2000 and 2010), Togo (188,110 animals exported between 2000 and 2010), and Benin (72,964 animals exported between 2000 and 2010). During the same period, total worldwide declared exports of skins and products of the species totalled 37,506. However, there is substantial undeclared trade in the species from Sudan, Nigeria and elsewhere
The specific name exanthematicus is derived from the Greek word exanthem /ɛkˈsænθɪm/ meaning an eruption or blister of the skin.French botanist and zoologist Louis Augustin Guillaume Bosc originally described this lizard as Lacerta exanthematica in reference to the large oval scales on the back of its neck.
Bosc's or savannah monitors are stoutly built, with relatively short limbs and toes, and skulls and dentition adapted to feed on hard-shelled prey. Maximum size is usually between 105 and 155 cm (3.5 to 5.0 ft) in length, although most specimens collected in the wild ranged from 60 to 76 cm (2 to 2.5 ft) with females being considerably smaller. The pattern of coloration of the skin varies according to the local habitat substrate. The body scales are large, usually less than 100 scales around midbody, a partly laterally compressed tail with a double dorsal ridge and nostrils equidistant from the eyes and the tip of the snout.
Information about the diet of savannah monitors in the wild has been recorded in Senegal and Ghana. It feeds almost exclusively on arthropods
Best Trained Savannah Monitor
For the external links , refrences click here to read the full wikipedia article
Care Articles :
- 5 Tips For Keeping The Savannah Monitor
BY ROBERT G. SPRACKLAND
Intelligent and appealing, the savannah monitor (Varanus exanthematicus) is a rewarding captive for the experienced lizardkeeper who has the time and patience to tame this large lizard. Adults measure a little more than 3 feet long, which means they need a substantial enclosure with plenty of room to move around. Also, in nature these lizards inhabit sparse grasslands and seasonally dry, desolate places in Senegal east to lower Sudan and western Kenya, so their captive environments need to mimic these conditions.
There are several approaches you can take in keeping a savannah monitor, and each reflects your intent for the lizard. The absolute minimum required to provide a healthy home include the following five topics.
1. Room to Roam :
Even if you plan to get a 5-inch-long hatchling, house it in the largest terrarium you can afford. The lizard’s growth rate largely depends on what and how often you feed it, but a hatchling can easily double in length in just four months and reach adult length in less than three years. Most commercially available aquariums will not meet the space requirements of an adult monitor. Of course, you can start by keeping the young lizard in a small terrarium and move it into larger enclosures as it grows, but small spaces present critical problems with controlling and regulating temperature.
Savannah monitors are robust, hardy lizards that have relatively simple care requirements.
Herpetoculturists have diverse opinions about how large a terrarium should be for any reptile. Many recommend an enclosure based on the special needs of an adult lizard. They say the young monitor will grow into a familiar place from the onset. Some keepers suggest the terrarium be about twice as long as the adult on all planes. That would be at least 6 feet for every cage dimension. Others, pointing out that young monitors are arboreal and spend much of their time in trees, recommend a terrarium 8 or 9 feet tall.
I favor keeping young savannah monitors in terraria measuring about 36 inches long, 24 inches wide and 15 to 20 inches tall. This provides a confined space that allows you to closely examine the lizard, so you can make sure it is eating and look for early signs of ill health. Once the lizard reaches a length of 14 to 16 inches, transfer it to an adult-sized enclosure.
Savannah Monitor Checklist
Thinking of taking the plunge? Keepers of savannah monitors need the following materials to increase their chances for success:
Terrarium with side ventilation ports.
Water dish big enough for the monitor to soak.
Heat lamp for the hotspot.
Incandescent or full-spectrum fluorescent light for viewing.
Laser temperature gun and standard thermometer.
Large rock (not a heat rock) for a basking site.
Hollow trees, boxes or other hiding places.
Branches and climbing material for young lizards.
Enough moist soil for the monitor to dig.
Good sources for live insects, and live or frozen rodents.
Books and other husbandry reference materials.
Calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D3 supplements.
The name of a good, local herp veterinarian.
2. Climate Control :
How to ventilate, heat and light the terrarium should be your next concern. Proper ventilation is important. Avoid aquaria; they have ventilation only at the top. Warm air and humidity will rise up and out of the enclosure. A properly ventilated terrarium allows natural airflow parallel to the substrate. An unventilated roof makes it easier to control the terrarium’s thermal gradient. Specialty suppliers offer such terraria, or you can have one custom built.
Reptiles typically derive their internal body temperatures from the substrate and sunlight. A reptile retreats from heat when it needs to cool down and finds heat when it needs it. This is why a thermal gradient is important.
A terrarium needs a basking spot heated to the high end of what the monitor can tolerate. Reptilekeepers generally employ high-wattage or special heat lamps focused on the basking site. For savannah monitors, the air temperature under the basking spot should be between 105 and 110 degrees Fahrenheit. The material under the hotspot, usually a rock, may reach a surface temperature of 135 to 145 degrees, and this is fine. However, avoid using heat rocks because they may burn the reptile’s skin.
There has been much debate lately about the proper temperatures to keep a monitor. Many keepers have discussed hotspot temperatures exceeding 130 degrees. This would be lethal if they meant the air temperature. However, what they mean is that the basking site substrate should be allowed to reach those extreme temperatures. The lizards will move to a cooler spot when they have warmed sufficiently. Air temperature for a single pet monitor should never be allowed to exceed 120 degrees. The maximum surface temperature of the substrate, provided there is at least 2 feet of substrate, should be 130 degrees.
The basking site and its substrate represent the high end of the thermal gradient, so the opposite end of the enclosure must provide lower temperatures. Daytime lows for savannah monitors should range between 78 and 88 degrees. The terrarium must be large enough to offer this thermal gradient. The heat from the basking site must not permeate the entire enclosure.
Provide 12 to 14 hours of daylight. At night, temperatures should range between 72 and 80 degrees. Some lizardkeepers have kept monitors in nighttime temperatures as low as 44 degrees with no ill effects, but this regimen was provided only one month per year, and daytime temperatures were around 95 to 100 degrees.
The terrarium should have a conventional thermometer for checking air temperature, and serious keepers also obtain a laser temperature gun, which projects a thin beam of light onto a surface, such as soil or a rock, and displays the temperature on a screen. A savannah monitor also requires a variety of hides that conceal its entire body and allow it to turn around when inside. A water dish in which the monitor can fully soak is also essential. Keep it in the cooler portion of the terrarium.
3. A Good Foundation:
Unless you’re housing very young lizards, the number one substrate is soil. All monitors dig, and savannah monitors dig long, deep, often complex tunnel systems. Fine or beach sand won’t work. The soil must hold enough moisture to support the monitor’s engineering efforts. Whether you use potting soil, a clay-based mixture or good old dirt, the substrate needs to be deep and packed tightly so it has maximum firmness. A depth of 15 to 20 inches is fine for general keeping needs. Keep it moist with periodic sprayings, but avoid making puddles.
You can skip the deep soil with young lizards because you want to be able to observe them easily. They will do fine on a thin layer of soil. Smooth gravel or paper towels are easy to clean, but they are not the best choices. Provide young monitors with small live trees, branches or other objects that offer climbing opportunities.
4. Varying Diet :
Wild savannah monitors are highly opportunistic carnivores, a bit like vultures. These lizards eat carrion, but like most monitors, their diet is largely made up of large invertebrates. These include orthopteran insects (grasshoppers, crickets and their kin), millipedes, slugs, beetles and scorpions. According to Daniel Bennett, one of the leading authorities on wild savannah monitors, orthopterans make up as much as 60 percent of a hatchling’s diet, about 70 percent of a juvenile’s diet and 9 percent of an adult’s diet.
In captivity, all young and subadult monitors should be fed gut-loaded live insects daily. Large orthopterans can be locally collected during the warm months, and they can supplement a regular diet of giant roaches and gut-loaded crickets.
Gut-loaded insects should be thought of, in part, as vitamin and mineral supplements. Feed the insects leafy vegetables dusted with calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D3 powders. All three of these minerals are essential in the formation, repair and health of lizard bones.
Savannah monitors undergo a considerable dietary shift when they become adults. Half of a wild lizard’s diet consists of millipedes followed by beetles, insect larvae and orthopterans. Captive monitors should be given a primary diet of whole-animal foods, such as mice, small rats and large roaches. The rodents provide natural calcium via their bones and cartilage. Females require a higher dose of calcium and vitamin D3 during egg production.
5. Does the Savannah Monitor Require UV or Not?
There are mixed opinions regarding whether savannah monitors need ultraviolet light. Lizards exposed to UV under experimental conditions had higher blood-calcium levels than lizards kept under standard lighting, but there is no substantive evidence that such extra-high calcium levels are actually needed. Ravi Thakoordyal, a veteran savannah monitor breeder, has written that he has successfully maintained and repeatedly bred lizards without using UV.
A good diet tends to provide adequate calcium without the need for ultraviolet light. UV is more important for animals with slightly poor diets. If you do opt to provide UV for your monitors, choose a full-spectrum fluorescent bulb that was manufactured to provide UVB for reptiles.
Worth the Effort
Savannah monitors are robust, hardy lizards that have relatively simple care requirements. They thrive within a fairly large temperature and humidity range, have a broad diet, and many lizardkeepers can provide for their terrarium needs. Most available in the pet trade are wild-caught, but even imported lizards can thrive as long as their keepers provide the right environment and care. If you can locate someone breeding them, please buy a captive-bred animal.
These monitors also become quite tame with very little handling, which is helpful when cleaning the cage or showing the animal to other people. An adult savannah is neither so large as to require extraordinary space nor so small as to remain comparatively fragile when handled.
Of course, the prospective keeper should remember that a 3-foot-long lizard is still fairly substantial. When the animal messes the terrarium, the smell can be unpleasant, and the cage must be cleaned immediately. They require feedings daily or every other day, so the cost of food must be considered. I am also aware of at least two verified cases where savannah monitors nipped off sizeable bits of dogs’ ears, so give these lizards the respect they deserve.
Robert Sprackland earned his Ph.D. at the University of London. Director of the nonprofit Virtual Museum of Natural History (curator.org), he has been a herpetologist for more than 40 years with interests in lizard evolution, zoogeography and neurophysiology. He has been a regular contributor to REPTILES since its first year.
- A starting point for the care of Savannah Monitors :
courtesy to : www.savannahmonitor.net/
One of the biggest misconceptions about Savannah Monitors is that they are desert dwelling animals; >This is false information Watch Video - Savanna Biome
Virtually all of the Savannah Monitors captured for the worldwide pet trade are "harvested" from Ghana Africa, a coastal grassland, that has rich grassy vegetation and relatively high humidity for much of the year. When we fail to provide the required humidity in captivity, these majestic animals perish from various states of dehydration. What many keepers fail to realize is that these animals spend much of their time down inside Burrows (or tunnels) under the ground to conserve moisture and avoid predators. These burrows are very important to the overall health of your lizard.
Savannah Monitors are very intelligent animals, they require stimulation, locked inside four walls with nothing to do is comparable to solitary confinement in prison, They NEED space, they NEED dirt to dig burrows in. Like a child in a sandbox, nothing else you can do for your animal is better than to give it plenty of sandy soil mix to tunnel in and providing enrichment to keep the animal's
mind keen. Monitors in captivity can become bored. (wouldn't you be in a box?)
If you wish to keep your Savannah Monitor healthy and alive for more than a year or two, you simply must provide a large sealed enclosure with a solid 24 inches of soil that will hold a burrow without collapsing on the animal while it spends most of it's time in there. The preferred substrate of many advanced keepers is a mixture of soil and sand. (See Bio Active soil page)
Temperatures and Humidity :
To properly support your Savannah Monitor, a wide range of options is usually deemed the best way to raise a healthy animal, Quite honestly you simply cannot provide this with any size "fish tank"! Click here to see why this is the single most important factor of proper care.
The humidity inside your enclosure should range from very low (directly under the basking lamps) to very high (nearly 100% down in the burrows and about 60% overall humidity on the cooler end of the cage.
A high quality digital hygrometer is mandatory for monitoring the environment inside your enclosure. Guessing the humidity will not work.
A high quality digital thermometer or temp gun is also a necessary tool required to properly set up and maintain your monitor and keep it healthy.
Failure to provide sufficient basking temperatures and correct humidity, as well as supported burrowing, is stressful the lizards internal organs and leads to dehydration and gout.
It has been concluded that chronic exposure to insufficient basking temeratures prohibits proper renal tubule function leading to kidney damage and failure over time. Source: Robert W. Mendyk, Zoo Biology 00: 1-11 (2012)
As a general rule of thumb, basking spots should be a minimum of 130 - 150 degrees Fahrenheit.
Recently I documented my lizards baskig at almost 180 degrees. View Photo (click).
Allowing your captive Monitor Lizard to roam about the house or keeping it in a room is not a suitable substitute for a proper enclosure.
Lighting your enclosure.:
For optimal basking, without risk of burns, it is common practice to use a cluster of three smaller 45 to 50 watt halogen flood lights rather than one big light. Experienced keepers use common floodlight bulbs sold at most retailers / hardware stores for use in outdoor security lights. They cost a lot less than reptile bulbs sold at pet shops, and work just as well.
Optimal basking temperatures should be right around 130-155 degrees (F) and be broad enough to cover most of the lizards body while sprawled out under the lamps. Warning! the use of a single high wattage lamp will burn your lizard and dry out the air in your cage.
It is also of no harm and thought to benefit the lizard if there is at least one UVB lamp in use to enhance the simulation of sunlight.
Savannah Monitors are primarily insectivores in the wild, there is however, some controversy about feeding rodents in captivity. This is a long winded and foolish argument.
A properly supported Monitor can handle mice and rats in their diet without any problems. However, the vast majority of keepers do not provide the correct housing for their captive lizards and the resulting health issues are often blamed on the rodent diet, when in fact improper husbandry that brought on the failure in the animal's health. Be sure to read the dehydration and gout page carefully, or your lizard will not live to be very old.
A proper Savannah Monitor diet would consist of Roaches, Crickets, Night Crawlers (Large earth worms) Mice, Rats, Snails, Garden slugs, Superworms and Locusts (where available) and certified chemical free organic whole Shrimp, Crabs, Crayfish & Chicks.
Poor foods :
Some of the worst things people could ever feed their captive Savannah Monitors...
Dog food, Cat food, Canned anything! Why? Read this link
Chicken parts, ground Turkey, animal parts.(Lacking essential minerals)
Boiled or scrambled eggs & cooked foods.(Cooking destroys nutrients)
The above items are not nutritionally complete, canned goods are almost all treated with chemicals, therefore the above items should be avoided.
Failure to provide these basic requirements will result in your animal languishing and ultimately perishing from dehydration related complications or other health issues and dying a gruesome death.
Summary of a Properly supported Savannah Monitor:
Minimum cage size 8 feet x 4 feet x 4 feet or bigger
Deep sandy soil floor to support digging burrows
Hot basking area of 130 degrees (F) or HOTTER
60% average humidity or higher
large water dish (Changed daily or more)
several hiding areas located throughout the cage.
6500K and supplimental UV lighting, it should be well lighted during the daytime cycle to simulate a sunny afternoon in Africa.
Important Reading Materials
The links below lead to some great information regarding your Savannah Monitor and I highly recommend having a look
-Bio Active Soil by Gregg Madden( Link Not work from Original source )
-Mampam Conservation Savannah Monitor page( Link Not work from Original source )
The annual Savannah Monitor tragedy
Every year, beginning in March, the reptile market becomes flooded with baby Savannah Monitors. Thousands are imported from Africa and sold over the internet, at pet shops and reptile shows for as little as $15 per lizard.
After all, if the seller were to inform the buyers that the "cheap" lizard they were about to purchase was going to need a cage the size of a room with (literally) a ton of dirt in the bottom, it was going to eat several thousand dollars worth of food and may never become "dog tame" they would not sell very many of them. In our struggling economy; that is not going to be a popular move, so they often (nearly always) distort the truth and will tell you whatever you want to hear, just so they can collect your money. This is heartbreaking and tragic.
Savannah Monitor Facts..
Facts you should know.
1. Virtually all of the videos posted on youtube are HORRIBLE examples of how you should take care of a Savannah Monitor.
2.Nearly all of those animals shown in those videos are sick, lethargic, overweight blobs that are close to dying.
3. When you pick up a monitor and it closes it's eyes, it is NOT relaxed, nor does this mean the animal "trusts" you. What this means is the poor lizard is so terrified, it is trying to pretend you are not there.
4. It is possible to raise a very tractable Savannah Monitor that will behave itself for you, but you must build trust gradually and never force yourself on the animal.
5. Most care sheets are filled with incorrect and often very outdated information and should be ignored.
6. Failure to provide ample basking temperatures and sufficient soil for burrowing is stressful to the lizard's internal organs and leads to gout.
That cute little lizard from the pet store will one day grow up to become a ferocious beast that could snap your family cat's neck and swallow it whole.
If you care, and I hope you do (since you have read this far) and are willing to provide for your lizard properly, there is no greater satisfaction than owning a healthy Savannah Monitor.
Other websites :
- Good : www.anapsid.org/savannah.html
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