Species group: Monitor Lizards
Other common names: Andaman Islands Water; Black Water Monitor; Two-striped Water Monitor; Southeast Asian Water Monitor
Scientific name: Varanus salvator
The Water Monitor (Varanus salvator) is perhaps the most wide-spread of all Monitor lizards, found throughout South Asia, from northern India, to Vietnam, China and Indonesia. There are 5 subspecies of Varanus salvator:
Appearance / health:
The Asian Water Monitor is a large lizard, and can reach 3 meters in length. It is mostly grey in color, with some white crossbands on the tail, and a white chin and belly. The body is muscular, and the lizard has a long powerful laterally compressed tail.
Behavior / temperament:
Asian Water Monitors are opportunistic predators and will attack any small animal for food. What is unusual about them is their ability to stand on their hind legs supported by the tail in order to scout the area for prey. They are fast and brusquely active, and dislike being handled or restrained.
These Monitors need to be kept in sturdy enclosures that will accommodate their size, foraging nature, and heat requirements. Accessories should include rocks, sturdy plants, vines, branches, and a substrate deep enough to allow the lizard to burrow. A large water dish is recommended for drinking and soaking.
Fresh water should be provided daily.
Asian Water Monitors are carnivorous, requiring large meals of insects, birds, rodents, crabs, fish, and other lizards. It has a voracious appetite and will consume any animal it can subdue.
beautiful monitors, magnificent beasts, advanced owners
room, pet monitor lizard, enclosure, captivity, hardy enclosure
appropriate water container
A Great Choice - for Zoos!
Decades of working with these magnificent beasts in zoos has left me in awe of them – and convinced that, unfortunately, they are best left to zoos or the wild. While there’s no denying that they are highly intelligent and able to respond (in some ways) to their keepers, water monitors are capable of severely injuring, and in some cases killing, their owners. They can in no way ever be considered “tame” or worthy of one’s trust, as might a domesticated mammal, and YouTube videos and such to the contrary should be ignored.
Of course, the practical considerations involved in keeping a 6-7 foot long, semi-aquatic monitor in anything but an enclosed outdoor swamp in the tropics will (or should!) dissuade most potential owners. Unfortunately, hatchling water monitors that fit into 50 gallon aquariums are inexpensive and readily available. Please do not be tempted – even on poor diets, they grow at astonishing rates, and no matter how special you might consider your pet to be, no zoo or nature center will accept it, and release is unethical and illegal.
Water monitors are quite easy to observe and study in many zoos and, from a safe distance, throughout much of Southeast Asia – please limit your interactions with them to these forums!.
From findiviglio Nov 11 2015 4:20PM
A Bad Idea!
I have had several different monitor lizards and I jumped at the chance to own a water monitor. I had done very little research before purchasing it and I think that was my mistake. Water monitors are unlike any other, they are very energetic and need more room most. The one I had actually dug a hole in the floor while I was cleaning his enclosure. Needless to say, I only kept him for about six months. Buyer beware..
From efpierce Dec 9 2012 7:50PM