Spiny-tailed Monitor

Save as favorite

Avg. Owner Satisfaction


(7 Reviews)

Species group:

Other common names: Ridge-tailed Monitor; Ackie Monitor; Red Ackie Monitor; Ackie; Red and Yellow Ackie

Scientific name: Varanus acanthurus

The basics:
The Spiny-tailed Monitor Lizard is a small species of monitor lizard. They are native to Northwestern Australia and live in a variety of habitats from arid to tropical regions. Varanus acanthurus are diurnal, solitary ground-dwellers monitors.

The Spiny-tailed Monitor has become a popular captive reptile specimen. Their colorful appearance is said to be complemented by their active and inquisitive nature.

Appearance / health:
Spiny-tailed Monitors are usually a reddish brown with yellow markings but color and pattern can vary with geographic origin. A distinctive feature is their thick spined tail - hence their common name. Three sub-species have been identified:

* Common Ridge-Tailed Monitor, or Red Ackie (Varanus acanthurus acanthurus)
* Common Ridge-tailed Monitor, or Yellow Ackie (Varanus acanthurus brachyurus)
* Island Ridge-tailed Monitor (Varanus acanthurus insulanicus)

A 4x2x2 ft enclosure would comfortably hold an adult pair for the duration of their life however any additionally room will be utilized. These monitors burrow in the wild, and need a very deep substrate which they can burrow in without collapse. The substrate should be a dirt/sand mixture which retains water well. It should be between 12 and 16 inches deep. These monitors will attain a full grown size at around 1.5 to 2 years of age, usually between 18 to 24 inches.

As their size and care requirements are very similar to Bearded Dragons, Spiny-tailed Monitor Lizards are considered an appropriate choice for beginning reptile keepers.

Feeding should be at least daily for the first year, where individuals are offered as much as they will eat over a 14-20 minute period. Their diet consists mainly of insects and small lizards.

Member photos