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 #2267493


Adam L
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 First Baby Sav

I just got my first Savannah Monitor earlier today. He/She is a baby and about 6-7 inches long I would guess. I did a lot of research before purchasing this beautiful little lizard and I think that I have just about everything right.

I currently have him (I’m going to call it a him until it gets big enough to actually know.) in a 30L x 12W x 24T tank since he’s only a baby but I intend to build him a 6.5L x 4W x 3T that will be his adult home. I can’t make it any taller then this but I don’t think that it will be an issue. Will he be ok to be moved in to the full size enclosure when he is only 1 foot or so long and is no longer comfortable in the small tank?

He currently has a basking spot that hits as high as 140-145. I know that 130 is optimal and that some people do have them all the way up past 150 but for my baby will 140 be too high? I’m currently using an outdoor 75 Watt Halogen bulb to heat the basking spot / whole cage during the day and a 75 Watt Night Glo (Purple) to heat it at night. The temperatures during the day are between 80 and 90 on the hot end and 70-75 on the cold end. At night the basking spot gets to around 90-95 and the warm side stays about 80 with the cold side being around 70 (Near Room Temperature).

The humidity is around 50% give or take 5%. I mist the cage to keep the humidity up and I have a piece of plexiglass covered in aluminum foil sitting on the majority on the screen lid so that I don’t lose as much heat and humidity as a normal screen lid would lose which I had read was a large problem with keeping the babies in tanks before they get big enough for a full size enclosure. I had set up the tank a few days before he arrived so I could make sure I had everything in full working order before my Sav got here.

For water he currently has a metal dog bowl which has a diameter slightly larger then he is from his nose to the tip of his tail and about 2-3 inches deep with water up to an inch from the top. It is on the cool side. Will he be able to climb out of it with ease? The 1 inch gap from the water to the top worries me a little because he is so small.

I have a 1/2 log hide on the warm side partially dug in to the dirt which has a piece of stone on top of it that is the basking spot. It is of course on the warm side. On the cool side I have a piece of something similar to drift wood which has a small gap under it that he can squeeze under since they do like tight hides. There is also a stick that is a bit thicker then him that stretches from the cool side over top of the hide and gets close to the basking spot but stays just far enough back that he is better off using the basking spot to get some sun. There are also some other minor decorations to liven up his tank. He has used all of these hides and the stick already since he arrived.

I have not yet fed him because I read that it could stress him out since he is still adjusting to his new surroundings. Tomorrow I will try to feed him a few crickets (7-10) to see if he is hungry. I want to get a good feeding schedule started but there is so much controversy over what you should really be feeding them that it seems every person feeds differently. If somebody who has had a baby Sav that has grown up nicely could advise me on an exact schedule for feeding that would be much appreciated because I don’t want to overfeed or underfeed and I certainly don’t want to give him things he shouldn’t have. My current feeding schedule that I intend to start him on will be 7-10 Crickets every other day with Boiled egg whites (Shell but no Yolk) once a week. I will dust one day’s crickets per week with calcium supplements.

When he gets older I may substitute crickets for Dubia Roaches if I end up starting my own colony because they are supposed to be rather easy to breed and get to sizes that a larger monitor could appreciate. This would also help because I would have a clue what to feed as a staple insect for a larger monitor if not roaches. All the care sheets seem to agree that for the most part if you intend to feed F/T mice you should not do it more then once a week although even that could be too much. I would most likely feed him 1 F/T mouse each week to make up a part of his feeding routine as an adult. If I end up starting a Dubia colony my schedule for him as an adult would be along the lines of several large roaches twice a week, 2 boiled eggs shell on with no yolk once a week, and 1 F/T mouse at the end of the week.

I’m not sure if I left anything out but I would appreciate any constructive criticism that you may have or any tips you could give me specifically about the feeding schedule and the basking spot. I will make an attempt to get some pictures of him and his setup later but I think that for now it’s best not to spook him too much because every time I have gone near him since his arrival he runs in to a hide and I would rather he gets comfortable with his surroundings. Also, I do not intend to handle his for at least 2 weeks which I read was the recommended adjustment period for a new monitor.

Thanks,
Adam



05/24/12  12:35pm

 #2267498


Aragarnn
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  Message To: Adam L   In reference to Message Id: 2267493


 First Baby Sav

Hey Adam you have come to a good place to learn. Excited for ya. I have had a savannah monitor for about a year and a half. Everything sounds fine in theory, I would knock up the humidity.

But in practicality I would build that enclosure immediately and get "him" in it. Look at it this way, these animals have a high intelligence and great instincts. The larger the enclosure, the more options for them to choose from with heat, humidity etc. They know what they need better than any of us ever will. 150 temp is fine, of it’s too hot it will stay away. And it would be best to go a foot taller if possible.

throw that food in now. If you have the cage warm, that sav is gonna be hungry. My monitor for the entirety of it’s life from 8"-23" lived solely on insects, I breed a roach colony. But it ate a lot and daily, on occasion I’ll throw a pinky in now
And it’s 25". If you use mice, make sure you have temps and humidity right so it will digest it well and do so only on occasion.
Here is my enclosure 8x4x4.5 with over 2ft substrate



05/24/12  01:36pm

 #2267499


Adam L
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  Message To: Adam L   In reference to Message Id: 2267493


 First Baby Sav

Cat "WTF is that thing???"


Front View


On the stick


Just a funny one


Good one of his head


Good one of his pattern


Last but not least, His new favorite hide that isn’t meant to be a hide.



05/24/12  02:15pm

 #2267501


Adam L
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  Message To: Adam L   In reference to Message Id: 2267499


 First Baby Sav

Thanks for the reply. Currently he only has 6 inches of a top soil / sand mix 2:1 but I will add more next time I change it if I haven’t built the bigger enclosure in a month or so. I haven’t seen him try to dig yet but if he does I don’t think he will have any issues with the 6 inches of substrate. I will mist to keep the humidity around 60%, possibly a bit more. If I can help it I will make the large enclosure a foot taller. What do you do when you have to change out the substrate in an enclosure that has 2 feet of dirt in it? Do you even have to change it out or do you just kind of flip some up from the bottom to the top?



05/24/12  02:21pm

 #2267503


Mxracer
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  Message To: Adam L   In reference to Message Id: 2267501


 First Baby Sav

Most people don’t really do any thing with ther dirt once its all in the big cage. If you turn the dirt, all you do is ruin burrows.



05/24/12  03:13pm

 #2267508


Adam L
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  Message To: Mxracer   In reference to Message Id: 2267503


 First Baby Sav

Alright, That would be much more convenient then to put 2 feet of dirt in. I was worried that putting 2 feet in would make it near impossible to change it out but if it doesn’t really need to be changed then that’s great.

I went ahead and threw in a couple of crickets. While he didn’t eat them in my presence I do believe he ate them all because there is no trace of them left.

I went down to get a drink about 5 minutes ago and he was in the water bowl half on his side and I thought he was dead. Reached in and grabbed him out of the water and set him on the dirt and he just walked away and went in his hide. It scared me quite a bit when I saw him laying in the bowl the way he was but he was fine apparently. I changed his water bowl to a plastic tub that’s about the same size but shallower because I really don’t want him to drown himself on accident. He probably wasn’t in any danger with the other one but I saw it as a danger so it had to be changed.



05/24/12  04:00pm

 #2267509


Mxracer
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  Message To: Adam L   In reference to Message Id: 2267508


 First Baby Sav

If he can’t fully submerge in his water dish it’s usless. He’s not going to drown himself. It maybe to dry in your cage so he’s trying to absorb as much moisture as he can to be comfortable.



05/24/12  04:04pm

 #2267511


Adam L
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  Message To: Mxracer   In reference to Message Id: 2267509


 First Baby Sav

He can still fully submerge himself but there’s now less space between the water and the top of the container. Its also plastic now instead of metal. The humidity is at 60% right now so I don’t think its too dry. I’m sure he was just fine but it looked like he was dead / drowning to a set of untrained eyes such as my own.



05/24/12  04:19pm

 #2267515


Adam L
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  Message To: Adam L   In reference to Message Id: 2267511


 First Baby Sav



That was the water bowl but now its a square one that’s shallower but it’s got the same amount of water in it.



05/24/12  04:21pm

 #2267526


Nd
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  Message To: Adam L   In reference to Message Id: 2267515


 First Baby Sav

You can put something on one side of the bowl so it can climb up and out of the water bowl. I am no expert but have raised a couple of young monitors up and from what I can tell you almost can’t over feed them, don’t count the crickets just throw them in you want there to be some left over as they eat off and on as the day goes on besides the original fill up at feeding time. Worry about your feeding schedule by the condition of your adult monitor, then you’ll be able to tell if to much or not enough. Good luck and have fun.



05/24/12  06:13pm

 #2267545


Varanus_odom
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  Message To: Adam L   In reference to Message Id: 2267493


 First Baby Sav

You arrived the right place...! Welcome to the monitor forum.

Quote:

I did a lot of research before purchasing this beautiful little lizard and I think that I have just about everything right. I currently have him in a ... tank since he’s only a baby ... Will he be ok to be moved in to the full size enclosure when he is only 1 foot or so long



As Aragarn suggested, best to get crackin on that enclosure immediately. I mean no offense to you - If you did your research you should have found that fish tank = death sentence and so you probably would have had a proper enclosure ready from the get go rather than plan to wait a year with him (?) in a fish tank. He (?) will be more than OK in a proper full size enclosure, from the get-go, not just when it hits a year old... and regarding comfort, your monitor is already uncomfortable in a tank. Doesn’t get much more uncomfortable than that as far as enclosures go. (No, you will not stress it out by putting it in a proper enclosure...)

While you’ve PARTIALLY covered the top screen with plexi/foil, it’s really putting lipstick on a pig. You still have ample room for the heat/humidity to rapidly escape in between. Heat/humidity rises and rapidly escapes anywhere it can up there, including your heat lamp. They call it a monitor beef jerky machine for a reason! Instead of 100% heat humidity loss, you’re getting about 70% right now.

It’s not just the screen top that makes the fish tank enclosure non-suitable to a monitor. You have glass on all sides of the enclosure which offers very little security or temp control. Your little guy will run into health problems within a year, whether you see the signs or not. If you were talking about leaving him (?) in there for just a couple weeks or so (rather than a year), I probably wouldn’t have said anything!

You’re on the right track with the hides. They do like snug spaces and in different temperature zones. You are very limited doing this in a fish tank, and so your monitor is therefore limited as well with his options.

There’s no point in reading care sheets - they are all wrong - there isn’t a single all inclusive care sheet out there with good info. If you want something to read, read this.

Link

Regarding feeding... substitute the crickets for Lobster roaches. Crickets stink, make noise, can easily escape, and even if gutloaded have a worse meat/shell ratio than the more beneficial roach species. Many benefits. Get yourself a batch of them and breed them. They breed fast, don’t escape, have a great meat/shell ratio, don’t stink, don’t make any noise, and they are perfect size for a baby-juvenile savannah. No more trips to the pet store to buy insects... Don’t feed it egg whites or slabs of meat. You can also cut up fresh whole fish into bite size pieces. Not fish fillets, make sure its whole prey.

You’ll see what a comfortable monitor looks like when it’s in a proper full size enclosure. It’s evident you care a lot for your monitor and I hope you get crackin the new enclosure soon! I can’t think of anything else - if any more questions I’m sure there will be answers for you here. Good luck!



05/24/12  07:43pm

 #2267549


Aragarnn
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  Message To: Nd   In reference to Message Id: 2267526


 First Baby Sav

like i said before, give them options, its not really a pet, its an animal with instincts and knows what it needs. dont worry about it killing itself.



05/24/12  07:54pm

 #2267571


Adam L
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  Message To: Aragarnn   In reference to Message Id: 2267549


 First Baby Sav

I never intended to keep him in the tank for more then a month Varanus. Certainly not a year. I know that it wont hold the humidity as well as the full size enclosure but I working with what I have for now. I will start on the full size enclosure some time this week with any luck.

In your full size enclosure are those just normal dome light fixtures minus the dome Aragarnn?

Thanks for the feeding tips also.



05/25/12  06:42am

 #2267574


Adam L
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  Message To: Adam L   In reference to Message Id: 2267571


 First Baby Sav

Also, What thickness is the wood that you used in your enclosure?



05/25/12  07:31am

 #2267600


Aragarnn
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  Message To: Adam L   In reference to Message Id: 2267574


 First Baby Sav

Flood bulbs. 75 watt. One swirly at the top to light it all up. The top half is 3/4 plywood and 2x4s. Same on the blot tom half but it’s lined with frp paneling to prevent rot and sealed with silicone on the edges.



05/25/12  12:23pm

 #2268173


Mdf
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  Message To: Adam L   In reference to Message Id: 2267493


 First Baby Sav



good luck with your pet! :)



05/30/12  03:42pm

 #2268562


Adam L
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  Message To: Mdf   In reference to Message Id: 2268173


 First Baby Sav

Aragarnn, You told me what lights you used but what I was really trying to get an answer for was what the fixtures are that hold the lights in your cage. Are they just normal dome fixtures like you would put on top of a tank but without the dome part?



06/02/12  03:00pm

 #2268580


Mdf
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  Message To: Mdf   In reference to Message Id: 2268173


 First Baby Sav



i see savorg has gone, such a shame alot of hard work went into that site. :(

this vid of mine has the details for success, but lacks the most important monitor need, deep substrate!!

I allow it to run because it’s still better than most youtube set-ups i see>











06/02/12  06:13pm

 #2268634


Adam L
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  Message To: Mdf   In reference to Message Id: 2268580


 First Baby Sav

Is that a yes about the fixtures MDF?

Also, I just redid the lid so that it doesn’t have very much room for the humidity and heat to escape. The only area it can escape is a small area around the lamp. It definitely is better then what it was because within an hour the glass had steamed up a fair bit. I think it will help a bit more.



06/03/12  12:52am

 #2268667


Mdf
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  Message To: Adam L   In reference to Message Id: 2268634


 First Baby Sav


Adam the cage i’ve showed you above in the vid is better than most, but at the same not the ideal habitat.

The cage is a sealed box that allows a layer of substrate that retains a heat gradients of about 75f upwards to 86f in places, lights should be placed with-in the box to allow humidity of around 60/65% to be achieved constantly.

Most air exchanges can be done by opening the door am/pm, or adding small drill holes about 2" above the soil level, holes around the top create a faster exchange of air from the outside, which usually results in a loss of humidity.

If there is loss of humidity or the the stat goes & the tank overheats the monitor escapes below ground where they will be able to breath more humidity saturated air & take advantage of cooler temps.

A good basking spot flood allows the monitor to reach full temp, which allows efficient hunting & also allows them to process the vit d which so important to their growth. This also helps keep the poop moving so theirs less chance of a backed up sav.

I liked to use hals 75w because they keep the bulb higher from the basking surface, i also like to have a some solid barrier guard from above in case they climb or try sliding down the lamps. I fix the the lamps with heavy duty nylon straps in two places that allows the lamp to be slid up or down allowing adjustment of the basking spot flood.

I fix in two places in case the 1st fixing fails, i then set up the basking spot flood usually on to ply & make sure the basking light circles on the ply nearly join if i’m using two lamps, this gives a good snout to vent coverage.

the key as everyone who has kept monitors long term will tell you is a good initial habitat, long term keepers can keep monitors in boxes with nesting boxes becuase they know the danger signs to look out for. Newbys have to learn them & this is usually at the monitors expense.

been there & done that! :)





06/03/12  02:44pm

 #2268668


Adam L
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  Message To: Adam L   In reference to Message Id: 2268634


 First Baby Sav

Is it bad if it’s too humid? Since I changed the lid it’s saying 90% RH in the cool end and 70% RH in the warm end. He spends all his time under the warm side hide with just his head sticking out and I almost never see him leave it. The warm side hide is around 95 degrees on the inside and the cold side hide is 75 on the inside. He has a constant supply of crickets running around his cage also. It seems that he just sleeps a lot.



06/03/12  02:46pm

 #2268672


Mdf
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  Message To: Adam L   In reference to Message Id: 2268668


 First Baby Sav



to humid with cold temps is bad long term

to hot with to little humidity is bad long term.

it’s getting the balance right, i wouldn’t worry to much from been to humid with a slight gap around your lamp at the top, just it doesn’t want to be a wet cage all the time, you can wet the cage down to give humidity though every so often.

your lizard will chose the most comfortable place for him/her, if they remain in a water bowl all the time in the hot end this is usually telling you their to hot & not enough humidity or burrowable dirt.

If they sleep a lot this can be ok as long as their feeding response is alert, if crickets are been ignored it could be lack of hides for them to feel secure or the temps are wrong, good full pictures of the set up can usually tell us this.

good luck hope this helps:)



06/03/12  03:03pm

 #2268839


Adam L
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  Message To: Mdf   In reference to Message Id: 2268672


 First Baby Sav

Is there anything I can do to try to make him a little more active? He doesn’t seem to have eaten for the past few days although food is readily available to him. There are probably 15 crickets running around inside his cage right now and I have even seen them just walking right on him but he doesn’t seem phased at all. When he first got here he was happy to eat the crickets and a worm or two. He also had some pieces of hard boiled egg whites. As far as I know he has only pooped twice.

I tried to get the humidity down some by leaving the lid a little bit off but its still hovering around 80% which I know is high but with the new lid I cant seem to get it to go down very well. With the new setup the inside of the warm side hide is 95 and the inside of the cold side hide is 75. The basking spot is 125 now also. I’m thinking that I should possible raise the basking spot again because he was more active when it was around 135-140.



06/04/12  09:58pm

 #2268882


Aragarnn
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  Message To: Adam L   In reference to Message Id: 2268634


 First Baby Sav

sorry about a late response. the fixtures i used were reptile ones with domes, but i took the domes off and use regular 75 watt flood bulbs



06/05/12  01:45pm

 #2268893


Adam L
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  Message To: Aragarnn   In reference to Message Id: 2268882


 First Baby Sav

Thanks for the reply. Did you have to do anything special with them to keep any issues from happening with the humidity?



06/05/12  03:20pm

 #2269018


Mdf
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  Message To: Adam L   In reference to Message Id: 2268839


 First Baby Sav



that can be a sign of a sav that’s been bothered to much by an owner trying to do their best to please their new pet lizard! :)

high humidity short term with the correct temps is not a problem, there’s usually dry areas next to the basking area which provide lower humidity range, so put the lid back on. :)

security/ basking temps/ humidity are usually the main keys to success, anyone one of them that is not correct you’ll see slower feeding responses & eating.

blank off the back & side glass with board (without setting fire to the place!) the heat lamps need to be inside to achieve a humidity seal, you may have to create a 2x2 framework inside or build a sealed box to sit on your current tank, look back through posts there’s plenty of examples.

You need to control the amount of air entering the tank with small drill holes in the top, with you using a glass aquarium tank, not ideal but members on here have converted tanks before.

Put the crickets in a tub that they find hard to get out of, just 3 or 4 appropriate sized crickets/insects (gut loaded) this will help you monitor what your monitor is actually eating, really stressed savs tend not eat, insecure savs tend to snack ever so often.

heavy traffic areas & keepers opening the lid & looking in every hour tends to freak the hell out of them as well! try & do as much as you can with-out bothering your sav, i sometimes do it bit by bit over a number of days or weeks, working out in advance on what day i’ll do what, this cuts down on you doing the same job twice!! :)

hope this helps! :)



06/06/12  02:19pm

 #2269020


Aragarnn
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  Message To: Mdf   In reference to Message Id: 2269018


 First Baby Sav

nope they do just fine.

ps. great advice from Mdf



06/06/12  02:24pm

 #2269047


Adam L
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  Message To: Aragarnn   In reference to Message Id: 2269020


 First Baby Sav

I probably do open the lid way too much. There’s almost always a couple of crickets who fell in the water so I have to get them out before they drown. I like the idea of putting them in a bowl or something that they can’t climb the sides of. I’ll try to leave him alone more I guess.



06/06/12  05:38pm

 #2269562


Adam L
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  Message To: Adam L   In reference to Message Id: 2269047


 First Baby Sav

He has become more active although he still hasn’t eaten any more since the first week from what I can tell. When I went to change his water I noticed about 5 very very small bugs. There have not been any of them on the sav and I can’t seem to find many of them in the cage. They are brownish in color and I can only assume came from the bag of top soil since it was sitting outside at home depot. I looked online for anything about them and from what I read they don’t seem to be anything harmful, just a little bug that breaks down plant life in the soil or something like that.

Should I worry about them at all and if so what should I do? Also, How could I get rid of them when I fill up my full size enclosure if they are actually something harmful?



06/11/12  08:58am

 #2269757


Adam L
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  Message To: Adam L   In reference to Message Id: 2269562


 First Baby Sav

I finally decided to give in and took a half pound of ground turkey mixed with 2 raw eggs and a scoop of calcium / D3 which I boiled and set a bit of in his cage. I then went to bag the rest up, When I came back just over a minute later he was chowing down! I’m so happy that he is finally eating something. This mix is what he was being fed by the company I bought him from raw but I had been trying to hold off on it because almost everything I have read says that it’s not a good staple however he just doesn’t seem interested in anything and he immediately ate this. I must say that I’m a fan of anything that will get him to eat.



06/12/12  02:34pm

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