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White-throated Monitor

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Species group:

Other common names: Cape Monitor; White Throated Savannah Monitor; Banded Cape Monitor; South African White Throated Monitor; White Throat Monitor

Scientific name: Varanus albigularis albigularis

The basics:
The White-throated Monitor is a large monitor lizard which is native to southern Africa - from South Africa northwards to Angola, Zambia and Mozambique. The White-throated Monitor is both terrestrial and arboreal, and lives in the savanna, steppe, open bush and woodland regions.

Appearance / health:
The White-throated Monitor is one of the largest monitor lizards, and can reach up to 2 meters in length. Its scales are usually a mottled gray-brown with yellowish or white markings. The forked tongue is pink or bluish.

Behavior / temperament:
Raising White-throated Monitors from juveniles makes it easier to tame them by regular gentle handling. The natural tendency of Monitors is aggression, which can result to nasty bites and tail lashing; therefore, care is always advised. Overall, White-throated Monitors are hardy and easy to feed and care for.

Housing:
The ideal cage for White-throated Monitors is one that is adequate for their size. This may have to be custom-made, preferably with access to direct natural sunlight. The cage should include stable piles of rock, dried roots or driftwood, and old, hollow logs. A water container big enough for the lizard to soak in, and convenient to refresh daily, is recommended. Day temp: 80-90F; night temp: 78-80F; humidity: 50-60%; lighting: 12-14 hours, UV radiation required.

Like other Monitors, the White-throated Monitor is aggressive but can be tamed with regular interaction and handling. Raising tame juveniles is easier than taming adults. When threatened, they bite and lash their tails. Under optimum care and conditions, White-throated Monitors can live up to 15 years.

Diet:
As with other Monitors, the White-throated Monitor is carnivorous. In captivity, its diet would include crickets (and other insects), waxworms (and other worms), rodents, and fish. It can be fed cooked eggs and packaged monitor food. Mineral-dusted crickets and vitamin supplements should be given regularly for added nutrition.

Breeding:
Although rarely bred in captivity, captive White-throated Monitor reproduction is known to occur given the proper environment. The gravid female digs a deep nesting burrow in slightly moist soil close to water to lay a clutch of as many as 50 white eggs. The eggs hatch in 6-8 months.