Acquired: Online breeder / seller,
Worked with pet (didn’t own)
New York, United States
Posted Nov 11, 2015
After a lifetime of working with reptiles in zoos and the wild, my best advice to those who would like to keep one of the world’s largest and most formidable lizards as a pet is “do not”! While there’s no denying that they are highly intelligent and able to respond (in some ways) to their keepers, Nile 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 5-7 foot long, carnivorous aquatic reptile in anything but an enclosed outdoor swamp will (or should!) dissuade most potential owners. Unfortunately, hatchling Nile 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.
Nile monitors are quite easy to observe and study in many zoos and, from a safe distance, throughout much of Africa – please limit your interactions with them to these forums!