6308 Monona dr., Monona WI 53716
CROCODILE MONITOR Caresheet
Common Name: Crocodile Monitor, Croc Monitor
Scientific Name: Varanus salvadorii
Origin: New Guinea and nearby islands
Size: 6' - 8' (head to tail)
Lifespan: 10-15 years
You will find many ways on the internet, on "how to" take care of this animal. This care sheet is showing the way we found works best for us from our many years of experience of caring for this species.
Croc Monitors are not for the beginner. They require a long-term commitment in both care and financial costs. With sharp teeth and claws capable of causing severe damage, these large lizards are for the advanced herper only.
In the wild, Crocodile Monitors live in the tropical rainforest and are active during the day. They are good climbers and require larger enclosures with adequate space for moving around in both horizontal and vertical directions.
They grow fast and will get quite large. We recommend starting out a baby monitor in at least a 4' x 4' x 3' high tank. However, by the time they reach about 1 1/2 years, you will need a larger custom enclosure. You should plan for this well in advance, even before you purchase your animal. Don't wait until they are too large.
For juveniles, an enclosure of 8'x 8'x 8' works well. For adults, move up to at least 18' long by 10' wide and 10' tall (or even larger). Consider well ahead of time where you will place this enclosure in your house. If you choose the basement or garage, understand that the enclosure must be keep at proper temperatures.
Monitors are strong and have powerful muscular bodies. Make sure your custom project is well-constructed and secure. Crocodile Monitors are active and smart. Error on the side of more room not less, and you and your monitor will be much happier.
The landscape of your enclosure should include areas of substrate with about 6" to at least 12" (or more) of soil mixed with wood chips, gravel, peat moss, or similar materials. You want a mixture that will retain moisture but will also breath so as to prevent mold build up. Also provide large flat rocks, wooden platforms, and tree trunks for your lizard to roam and bask on. These will all need to be sufficiently sized for the size and strength of the animal. Make sure to secure tree branches, they will climbing on them. Be sure also to create a soft area of substrate below where your lizard can drop safely from the branches above.
Finally, your pet will want a place to hide and sleep in and feel secure.
LIGHTING & TEMPERATURES
These monitors are quite hardy creatures. However, like all reptiles, they are dependent on thermoregulation to control their body temperature. This essentially means you need to provide a hot and a cool side to your enclosure. All the heat elements should be on one side and the other will be the cool side. This way your lizard can move back and forth between the different temperatures depending on its needs.
A basking area of 100-110 degrees should be provided. The rest of the enclosure can be in the high 80s to low 90s range. At night, temps can drop to as low as high 70s degrees. Use a good quality temperature gauge, like Zoo Meds digital temp gauge or Exo Terras Thermometer. Don't guess. The easiest way to increase the heat in your enclosure is with a Reptile basking bulb or a heat panel.
There is some controversy on whether monitors need UVB lighting. We suggest using UVB lighting to help them absorb calcium and to synthesize vitamin D3. Since they are not out in natural sunlight in our homes, we must provide UVB light in the form of a special fluorescent bulb designed to produce UVB rays. The best bulbs are the mercury vapors such as Exo Terra's Solar Glo bulbs, ZooMed's Powersun, or Solar bright bulbs. These provide heat and UVB all in one bulb. You can also use separate basking (heat) bulb and UVB bulbs. If you use these, you'll want the Zoo Med 10.0 or Exo Terra UVB 10.0 variety.
Crocodile Monitors evolved in the moist rainforest where rainfall is the norm. They like to drink and bathe in water on a daily basis.
It's nice to provide a good size container that allows them to get their entire body in the water, such as a kiddie pool, other large tub or garden pond fixture. The water should be changed everyday because they will at some point defecate or kick bedding into it. Scrub the tub at least once a week to keep bacteria slime from building up.
Keep the enclosure at 60-80% humidity. If you live in a dry climate, you can mist the enclosure daily. As mentioned above, you will want a substrate that breathes but also holds some humidity without molding.
You can also provide a humid hide for your lizard. This is a hide with some wet moss or jungle mix inside. It's not easy to find a hide for a large Croc Monitor without making it yourself.
As carnivores in the wild, Croc Monitors are quick and efficient hunters. When hungry enough, they will also scavenge dead food. Your pet will eat rodents such as mice and rats. In addition, rabbits, chickens, ducks, other domesticated birds, and hard-boiled eggs work well.
Choose a flat space free of substrate or a large heavy duty bowl (for smaller items) to feed your lizard. Do not hand feed. You don't want your pet associating your hand with food.
Young monitors are better fed every day. Adults can be fed 2-3 times a week.
Don't always feed them the same thing. As far as to how much to feed, make sure your lizard has a slightly rounded belly after it has eaten. When you are feeding meat that is not a whole animal, you will need to supplement with calcium such as Zoo Med calcium with D3 or Repashy calcium plus.
mice/rats of appropriate size (live or frozen/thawed)
Hard-boiled or scrambled eggs
Repashy meat pie
Crocodile Monitors are quite intelligent. However as mentioned above, they are not for the beginner. Once they reach adult size, their hormones kick in and they can be quite defensive of their territory. Only advanced herpers should consider keeping them.