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Old 10-16-2005, 12:02 AM   #1
New Sav. Monitor owner seeking advice

I bought a Savannah Monitor at a reptile show about a month ago. His name is Grendel. I am told it is a male. He's about 1 1/5 feet in length. I have no idea how old he is. Could anyone make a suggestion? He was meant for my fiancee, but my fiancee is weary about touching him of late. He's never bitten and really acts more like a dog than anything. The previous owner (before he went to the guy I purchased him from) kept him in a small wire cage and he had a wound on the back of his head that is healing nicely. I was told it came from him rubbing his head against the wire.

He'll be coming over to my house soon so I can take care of him myself. I'm not afraid of him really, I understand he can bite and I have accepted the risk. I am careful around him, particularly about putting my hand by his mouth just in case. I own three rats as well so I have to be careful about washing my hands before I handle him. The only 'aggression' he has ever shown is when he's startled after I feed him upon which time he turns really quick towards my hand (but never puffs his throat or opens his mouth), or when I am trying to pry him off my chest lol He only makes puffing or sighing noises in his throat. He's a definate hugger. He's tame enough that we can lay on the couch and watch TV. He seems to enjoy being under a blanket while laying across my stomach.

The people at the reptile show told me I could just feed him catfood, but I've only tried it on one occassion. It made his fecies smell horrid! I about gagged while cleaning out his water. His diet is primarily high quality lean hamburger, mice, or crickets. I intend to start breeding mice if that is a good idea. I've read a lot of information about these monitors and it seems that bugs are recommended as a staple since meat can make them over weight. They also said a regular flood light would do as long as it produced the proper temperature. Is that true? I doubt it, but I wanted to check.

They also told me that Savannah's are the garbage can of monitors and that they'll eat about anything. Supposedly they are easily taken care of and very tame. The tame part I can tell with this one, but are there any care issues I need to go for or watch out for?

My fiancee and his father constructed a cage for him. It is 2 feet deep and is between 3 and 4 feet in length, 1 1/5 to 2ft wide. We have not put a plexy glass window in yet, not until I get ahold of the corner cage (by that I mean it fits into a corner) I have my eye on. If the corner cage is waterproof I will probably use it for his swimming area and the other for his main living area. Right now he has a plastic watering dish in there that is big enough for him to totally submerse himself in. It stays pretty humid and warm in there for him. We bought reptile bark for the cage as well, though he doesn't seem to dig any.

I have taken him outside and let him walk while on a harness and leash. He seems to rather enjoy that. He caught a few wild crickets from the front yard. He seems to like to go wherever he pleases and not where you want him to go.

I've never had a reptile before and I am trying to do right by him. Is there anything you all could suggest that I do, or suggest how to make a bigger, better cage? I know the one now is just too small for him. Or at least it seems so to me. Can anybody tell me what kind of expences I may be looking at? I'm currently in college 2 days a week and working 9-5 3 days a week. Do I have time to care for him properly? Any care information is appreciated! Here's a picture
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Old 10-16-2005, 12:06 AM   #2
Fixing something

I tried to find a button that would let me edit my thread, but coulded find one. He's about 1 1/2 feet long. Not 1 1/5 and the cage is 1 1/2 feet wide. Again not 1 1/5. My keyboard is on the fritz I guess.
Old 10-16-2005, 06:20 PM   #3
I am not an expert in Savanna Monitor husbandry. I do have one and he has been thriving in my care. He is 1 1/2 years old now and about 9 inches from nose to vent. From your description your Savanna is older and larger than mine. I did get mine when he was a hatchling.

My feeding regimen consists of a variety of carnivore appropriate foods. The foundation of his diet is made up of whole frozen/thawed animals, chicks, mice and rats of the appropriate sizes. In addition to this I will offer canned dog food, commercial "carnivore" preparations, some fish and raw meat (beef, lamb or poultry-never pork). Calcium supplements have always been used along with occasional use of multivitamin supplements. He will eat crickets, superworms, and other insect foods. I don't use them as staples because they do not contain the proper calcium-phosphorous balance and he can go through a lot of them. Insects, when offered, are always dusted with a calcium supplement. I mainly offer the crickets so that he has exercise and enrichment hunting them down. I have offered earthworms. For variety, they are a good nutritional option if yours will eat them.

Overfeeding is what makes them fat. That and lack of exercise. Meat is richer in calories than insects.

My Savanna has always had a "hide". A hide is a "furnishing" that you include in the cage that allows the animal to have a place to hide in. There are many options in this regard. Do a search on the keyword "hide" for examples and ideas. The search feature for this site is in the green bar above, just right of center.

I have never kept his cage very humid. He is supplied with a water dish large enough for him to soak in if he wishes. I do not believe it is advisable to keep them in a too humid environment. Mine has never had any problems shedding.
You might want to consider having two such water dishes because they usually use their water as a toilet. Thorough disinfection of the dish after this use is mandatory.

It is strongly recommended that you provide UVB light. I have been using reptile UVB florescents, but am planning on making the change over to mercury vapor soon.

The cage needs a hot end and a cool end. I use an under tank heat mat and incandescent flood (on a thermostat) for the hot end. Switching over to the mercury vapor will eliminate the need for the flood lamp because the MV bulbs provide heat as well as UVB. The hot end should have a basking area of 95 F. The cool end can be room temperature, 70 F.

You are lucky that yours is so tame. I have seen other tame adult savannas. Mine is an incorigable little monster. He has been on a harness and I like using one for him whenever I have him out. He can get exercise, sunshine and remain secure.

The animal itself can be very accepting of conditions and very adaptable. Still, you must insure that you are not compromising it's needs inadvertently.
If you haven't done so already, do an internet search on the savanna monitor and/or Varanus exanthematicus. I did this before I got mine and took notes on as much of the basic care requirements and natural history data as I could find.

Most people that have tame monitors love them. I hope you two get to enjoy a long happy relationship.
Old 11-04-2005, 05:55 PM   #4
savannah monitors do need humidity and a very large enclosure (at least 8ftx4x3) with at least 1ft of dirt (to cool off) especially when they are the size of yours and if they are going to be caged up a lot. nightcrawlers are a good food to dust and feed them as long as they are warm and squirmy. in the wild they mainly live in the humid african savannahs (thus the name) and feed mainly on invertebrates so any snails or cockroaches would be relished. very nice to see someone who wants wats best for their monitor.GOOD LUCK!!!!!!
Old 01-16-2007, 08:19 PM   #5
OK..... everyone passed over a really big issue that made skip the rest of your post darlin, NEVER feed it cat food. Never ever. And dog food only when it is sick, or recovering from being sick. Nobody said anything about that, and it surprises me. No offense to anyone here. But for a savannah, a 75-100 gal is sufficient as long as it does not stay cooped up. If it is strictly caged, then yes, use a larger enclosure. And they do not necessarily require humidity. And it also depends on the monitor, in my opinion. My female loved to be misted down through out the day. She'd push the water bottle over when she wanted to be misted. My large male, hated it. The savannah in Africa is very dry parts of the year remember. They have a dry season, and a wet season. All your monitor REQUIRES for moisture is a water bowl large enough to soak in.

I will go and re-read your post though. I apologize if I sound harsh. if you want to see my monitors, check them out under my Screen Name.
Old 01-16-2007, 08:37 PM   #6
We decided that we should find him another home because of his costly upkeep and the fact that we wanted to have room to rescue another reptile in the future. We gave him away to a reptile rescue and petstore in Bristol. They have a lot of experience with large reptiles, including venomous snakes and large lizards. He is not for sale, but display. He is in a 20ftWx4ftHx5ftD that used to house an andecona. He has his own pond and climbing area.

We spent a ton of money on him, not just on food but vet bills. He was pretty underweight when we got him. The catfood we only tried once and it was horrible so we never tried again. I did a lot of research and made a lot of changes after this post. I had actually entirely forgotten about it and just now am reading these replies because I only today recieved notification of them. But thank you for the advice. He is now in a very good home.

We also took a 3 legged Beardie from the same man about a month later. Upon a vet visit he was found to be more than 50% underweight and several of his toes had died away and the vet actually broke them off. He had to be soaked in some kind of solution as well. We got him back up to health and he is now living with another beardie with a woman in OH. He looks quite happy and healthy.

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