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Spiny-tailed Monitor

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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)

Housing:
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.

Diet:
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.

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