Caring for your Asian Water Monitor
CageOh My! Make it a full room if you can. Monitors are intelligent and curious so g them lots of room to climb, dig and bask. A hide box is a must. Especially if you have a substrate they cannot dig in. This is so important to their digestion and mental well being so please be sure to supply them all their needs. Don't forget access to plenty of sunlight. My Bambi flattens out like a pancake when the sun rays hit her cage. Soooo cute. She loves the sun. A full size room with a floor that can be disinfected and a large pool that she can swim in is hard for most people to supply. Some people provide a large bath once a week or so, but I find my baby in the water constantly. She loves to swim and I think it's good exercise. Also, I am all for mental stimulation, I gave mine a plastic ball with holes in it and I know she is not playing, per say, but she does push it around, especially in the water.
SubstrateFresh clean dirt is great. It's cheap to replace. My "Bambi" likes to dig and has a habit of pooping in her water so cleaning is easy for now. I sometimes change her water twice a day now. This will be a major chore when she full-grown and has here 300 gallon pond set up. I still use the dry deck I speak of in my general section. Her new enclosure will be a 12x12-room custom built and I would like to be able to supply her with the dirt she'll need for her natural burrowing needs. I'll deal with that as she gets bigger and put pics up when that room is done.
BehaviorCurious, unpredictable & potentially dangerous as an adult if frequent handling is not there. These pretty timid animals and I have never been snapped at by my monitor but remember any animal with a mouth can bite and the bigger the animal the bigger the bite. Don't get comfortable, Istill am always cautious, especially when I am taking her out of her cage as they always want to eat.
TemperatureHot, humid, tropical. 80 on one side and up to 130 in the basking spot. Yes, I said 130. I believe this is the ket to a happy healthy lizard. They eat a lot and need this to digest there food. Reptiles are cold blooded and the enzymes in their stomach are activated by heat. If this is not provide they cannot digest properly and can become inpacted. Imagine food rotting in their stomach. Make sure your little dinosaur has freedom to move about and has a large enought cage to provide this temperature gradient so he can go to the spot where the temperature is what he wants. Don't forget the water. Of course I use the heat panels to heat the cage. Please visit www.pro-products.com for more info on these awesome radiant heat panels. Tell them SnakeBabe sent you. >Feeding: These guys are scavengers so feeding dead food is easy. Mine did get pinkies, crickets and other insects as a hatchling. Now she gets rodents of appropriate size sprinkled with vitamin powder. The powder doesn't seem to phase her in the least as it does some of my other lizards. She is getting small rats, large mice, maybe some ground turkey as a treat. They will eat anything they come across in the wild, crabs, fish, eggs, small birds. There is so little information on feeding these guys on the internet I pretty much use my best judgement.
LightingI provide full spectrum light, although I read it is not needed with these guys. I tend to lean towards "if they get it in the wild I will provide it." Bambi loves the sun, she will spread her legs straight out and bask for hours on a nice day.
This and ThatThese animals get big big BIG! They can live to 25 years old. That's a long-term commitment of care. Lots of space must be given to keep these animals happy and healthy. Monitor lizards can inflict a painful bite. It is important that they become used to your daily contact while they are young so that they can be handled safely when they are adults.