Acquired: Worked with pet (didn’t own)
North Carolina, United States
Posted Aug 12, 2014
Yes, you read that right lol. That wasn't actually his name but that was how we explained to my 3 year old niece that she needed to stay away. After that she would walk up to his house, point, and say "Bite!" To which we would agree and she would toddle on her way. I honestly can't even remember his real name right now I called him Bite so often haha.
Bite was my brother's lizard. I have to admit, I wasn't always that fond of him. I tended to be more on the nervous side because of how big he was (HUGE!!) and he had his "cranky lizard" moments. Of course, that's normal for Nile Monitors. Most of them have bad tempers and you do not need to handle them. If you got your monitor when it was a baby and handled it often, sometimes it would get them used to human touch enough that when they got older you could handle them easier. (But still with extreme caution!)
Bite thankfully was one of the latter, allowing Lewis and Lawrence to pet and handle him with no real problems. He would let you know he was tired of you by swishing his tail and smacking you with it but he wouldn't try to bite them. He also was allowed to roam the house sometimes (which is NOT recommended btw-even if you have the nicest monitor on the planet you probably shouldn't let him free roam.) My favorite memory is when my sister woke up with him licking her leg. She screamed bloody murder and scared him half to death! I still laugh when I think of her face!!
Nile Monitors are definitely NOT for beginners, and probably not even for intermediates. They grow to be very large and aren't very friendly. There isn't really a such thing as a "tame" Nile Monitor. Like I said earlier, if you have them from a very young age and handle them regularly then it may be easier to handle them when they get older. But you should always handle them with extreme care and caution. They have lots of teeth and a strong jaw. Their tails are a powerful weapon as well.
When deciding on an enclosure for your monitor, bigger is always better. The ideal size is at least twice the size of your monitor. For example, if your monitor is 3 feet, the house should be 6 feet and so on. Some people use an extra bedroom in their house or build an enclosure outside. Whatever you decide you need to make sure it is secure and they won't be able to dig out of it or escape at all. You also need to make sure there are things they can climb on, hide in, and water they can drink/swim in (yes, they swim too!).
Since they are native to Africa you need to keep them warm. The temperature for their enclosure should never get below 80, and you should have at least one spot that is 100-120 degrees to they can bask in the glow. Also, UVB bulbs are better for your monitor.
Young Nile Monitors need to be fed daily while older monitors can be fed a couple times a week. Seems a little lopsided, but there you are. They can become overweight easily when they get older so be careful when feeding them. It is expensive feeding a Nile Monitor so be sure you are capable of providing what they need-young ones are fed daily (like I said) and are good with crickets-but you need to be sure to add extra nutrients to them to help them grow. Adults eat several large rats a week, so you can see how it could add up.
Nile Monitors are awesome animals...they can climb and swim, and they're pretty. But they are definitely not for everyone and not for beginners. If you feel that you have the skill (and money) to handle these majestic creatures then I would say do it...but ONLY if you have what it takes!