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Black Throat Monitor or Varanus albigularis Care Sheets
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Care Sheet for Monitors

Average Rating Given To This Care Sheet Is 3.68    (1=lowest, 5=highest)    Last Updated: 03/12/2003

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Years Experience:

10 to 15 Years


Black Throat Monitor or Varanus albigularis

Other Species or Phases this Care Sheet May Cover:

Varanus albigularis is very similar to the Savannah Monitor. Both are native to nearly the same climate.

Sexing and Characteristics:

Sexing monitors of any kind is quite tricky. The easiest way is to view your monitor as it is defecating. Males will invert their hemipenis.

Mostly Active During:


Substrate and Water Needs:

Blackthroat monitors should always have water available. Keeping a water dish that is large enough for the entire lizard to submerse if need be is the best route to go. Substrate should be enough for the animal to burrow. You can achieve a burrowing substrate by mixing a variety of organic soils with playsand and cypress mulch. This is not nearly as good as some of the earth that can be used from outside. Digging up a pile of dirt from a clean area is a very good source. I provide my adults with 2 feet of digging space, younger specimens should be provided with enough dirt to make an adequate burrow.

Lighting and UVB:

There is no proven benifit too using UVA/UVB bulbs with monitors as their diet is considered a full meal. However, using this type of lighting certainly will not hurt.

Temperatures and Humidity:

These monitors are located in the savannah areas of africa. They do not require any intense humidity. The trick is using proper substrate which will be covered in the substrate section below.

Heating and Equipment:

Using halogen flood lamps **Caution, these get very hot** you can create an ambient temperature of 80-85 degrees and a basking location of 125-135 degrees.

Caging Provided:

For juvinile subjects a 20 gallon tank will suffice. But beware, these reptiles grow extremely fast considering they are kept in the proper conditions. A single adult can be housed comfortably in no smaller than a 6X3X3 enclosure. Anything less than so is in my opinion, inhumane.



Description of Diet:

For juveniles unable to take large prey items GUT LOADED crickets are the best food source. As the animal grows introduce it too mice slowly. It is very unnessecary to feed your juvenile monitor pinkies and fuzzies. consider these a treat. As your monitor grows too large too continue feeding crickets, I find the best food sources are for the following sizes:
12" and under: Crickets, and mealworms (gutloaded) with the occasional pre-killed pinky/fuzzy mouse.
15" up too 24": a variety is the best for any monitor. at this size you can introduce a variety of sources. small-medium mice, small chicks, rat-pups, various insects, hard boiled eggs(keep the egg consumption to a minimum) Smelts (a fish purchased quite cheap at any grocery store once again an item not to offer too often) Ground Turkey (there is alot of controversy on this item. I personally use it occasionally. There are many recipes available for the "ground turkey diet")
24" to adult size: This is where it gets very easy. Basically upgrade the size of your rodents and continue with the variety.

Supplements, Nutrition and Usage:

Supplement all insects.
ground turkey diet contains vitamins
DO NOT supplement rodents, it is not needed and can be potentially dangerous.


If you use outdoor dirt the advantages are the bacteria that comes with this substrate. It breaks down any feces that your monitor leaves behind, however i still spot clean and do remove a bit of the dirt when i find fecal matter. ***ALWAYS*** provide a clean water source, failing to do so can lead to a variety of health problems.

Some Words on this Species:

***ALWAYS*** Keep stress levels absolutly minimal for new imports. This can be achieved by the following steps:
1. Keep handling to a minimal.
2. Provide adequate hide spots.
3. construct a "retes stack" Look up directions using any search engine.

*** This species is known to have the reputation of "dog" tame. However i strongly disagree. This is a large predatory animal that should NEVER be trusted or left unsupervised with any young child. Remember. when dealing with a monitor, you are dealing with a very instinct driven reptile that can cause some very serious damage. Think these facts over before purchasing a monitor! I will add that these lizards are a very rewarding species to keep, and are incredibly fascinating. SO much so that i continue to jump at every single one i can get my hands on.
Hope this has helped, and happy herping!
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The information contain in these care sheets represents only the opinions and husbandry care of members and therefore is not guaranteed to be 100% accurate or reflects the advice or opinions of It is always advised to seek additional information or the advice of a qualified veterinarian or qualified reptile dealer. It is also advisable for you to a good amount of research before implementing any of the ideas and care described in these care sheets. We also recommend you ask many questions in their related forums before acting on any information.

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