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 #2319063


Escape312
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 New Savannah Taming advice?

Hi! I recently bought a baby Savannah monitor from a local reptile breeder, tho I know the monitor is not captive breed. I have read several conflicting viewpoints on taming an would love any advice anyone has to offer on how to take her out into being a puppy like lizard. She has become very aggressive, most likely due to having to change her enclosure often when I read the forums and realized that the conditions the breeder suggested aren’t beast fit for the monitor. She was moved from a 10 gallon to a 20 gallon to a hand made 5’x2’x2’ enclosure in less than a week! Is very afraid to be seen by me, will only eat boiled egg and superworms, tho I’ve offered dubias and crickets. I tried water taming early on but noticed the stress change as well as hearing some suggest to only food take the animal. Please let me know what’s worked best for you!



07/10/16  01:04am

 #2319064


PuppyLizard
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  Message To: Escape312   In reference to Message Id: 2319063


 New Savannah Taming advice?

The most important thing, right now, is to be certain the enclosure is appropriately set up with at least two feet of soil/sand mix for borrowing and proper humidity and temps. Nothing is more important than that. Your baby is not aggressive, but defensive, because in its world you are the giant lizard eating monster. Feed with tongs and be patient. There will come a point when you can put your left hand in the enclosure and tempt the baby to step over it to get food from the tongs in your right hand. This way it will associate your scent with feeding but not think of you as the meal or the predator.Be sure there is no food scent on your hands.

There are some GREAT ideas, videos and files on the Facebook page, Savannah Monitor Group. The admins are committed to promoting proper husbandry and will be direct with you about your practices. I highly recommend it. Also be sure to purchase Daniel Bennet’s book on Savannah monitors.

Once your baby is more comfortable, find a signal that is easy for you to use. I cluck twice each time my baby eats an item. Now, when I want it to come out of its burrow, I tap the water bowl two times and cluck and out comes little Summerdog! I reward immediately for coming out, continuing to give food items and to cluck. He/she walks all over my hand to get to the food. The training process only took about two weeks to achieve results. Now, everytime I call, out it comes! Good luck. They are so rewarding! I’m not an expert, but have been learning from some. Find your people and ask lots of questions!



07/10/16  08:00am

 #2319068


3240
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  Message To: Escape312   In reference to Message Id: 2319063


 New Savannah Taming advice?

I really recommend that you give her some time before you worry about handling. Hissing, tail whipping, hiding, etc., are all normal behaviors especially for a young monitor. My hatchlings spend the majority of their fist six months eating and hiding, it’s normal. Once grown they typically become very tolerant of me. Too much handling, or attempts at "taming" at this stage will cause stress and potentially slow growth.

Please use caution and common sense when watching youtube videos. Techniques like water training are nothing more than torture. I’m also a real skeptic when it comes to things like click training, etc. (I’m not saying you can’t try it) Monitors are food driven. When my lace monitors see me with a bag of mice they’ll practically run over me and I’ve had them try to climb me (not recommended) to get food. Does it mean they’re tame or trained? No, they’re just being monitors and a healthy monitor is all about food.

Raising a hatchling can be frustrating, dare I say boring, at times. How do you make it fun? My suggestion is to work on it’s enclosure and focus on providing ideal conditions. Setting up a good enclosure, and watching a monitor act like a monitor, can be a lot of fun. Once the enclosure is set up properly she’ll grow like a weed. It’s very rewarding.



07/10/16  11:00am

 #2319070


PuppyLizard
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  Message To: 3240   In reference to Message Id: 2319068


 New Savannah Taming advice?

Probably everyone can agree that we all share a fascination with these animals and we should each seek to provide the very best setup and care possible. We should always continue to be students as new research is completed and we have to be willing to learn and change. Much has changed in monitor husbandry since I got my first one in 1988. I’m thankful for that and the wisdom available in forums like this one. Your comment about monitors acting like monitors is important because we don’t want to project on them abilities and sensitivities they don’t have, or compromise them in any way. At the same time, all intelligent animals learn through conditioning (including teenagers--I taught high school for 30 years). We also keep fallow deer, sheep, dogs, cats, and I make my current career with horses. All respond to food conditioning (chocolate chips and pizza for the teenagers).

Many animals develop symbiotic relationships that benefit both species. If I can develop a relationship that is rewarding to me, call it conditioning, taming, training, whatever, that in no way injures or compromises the animal, we both win. The monitor gets what he wants and needs (suitable habitat, appropriate food) and I get what I want--interaction and the satisfaction of seeing my animal exhibit good health and confidence. It also makes sense for someone getting into monitors--who would enjoy interaction-- to research whether or not the type lizard being selected is known to thrive in an interactive environment. Patience, which is difficult if you are excited about a new creature, is important with any species. The times I’ve made my biggest training mistakes have been when I got in a hurry. It takes a long time to undo those.



07/10/16  12:10pm

 #2319074


3240
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  Message To: PuppyLizard   In reference to Message Id: 2319070


 New Savannah Taming advice?

I just finished feeding my lace and spencers monitors. I realized how easy it would be to make a youtube video showing the monitors as trained and tame. But, it would be misleading. My enclosures are walk-in. When I enter the enclosures the monitors come running to see if I have food. They’ll literally crawl up my leg if I’m not careful. Are they trained or seeking my attention. No, they’re just hungry.



07/10/16  01:05pm

 #2319075


PuppyLizard
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  Message To: 3240   In reference to Message Id: 2319074


 New Savannah Taming advice?

Maybe what’s really happening is they are training us! (To feed them!!)

;)



07/10/16  02:34pm

 #2319076


Reptictale10
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  Message To: PuppyLizard   In reference to Message Id: 2319075


 New Savannah Taming advice?

I agree. A lot of people see me with my monitors an say wow they are so tame. When in reality they are not. They build a tolerance of you. And thats all you can ask for.



07/10/16  03:38pm

 #2319079


PuppyLizard
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  Message To: Reptictale10   In reference to Message Id: 2319076


 New Savannah Taming advice?

They are undomesticated, essentially wild animals, who adapt to their situations and strive to survive. For sure they are intelligent enough to learn our habits and come to know us on some level. At the very least they have expectations that we will show up and offer dinner.

I respect all of you who raise these amazing animals and work so hard to do right by their care. I’m very pleased and happy that yours tolerate you.

But I hope ya’ll don’t mind if mine "like " me!


All in fun... Carla



07/10/16  07:05pm

 #2319080


Escape312
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  Message To: 3240   In reference to Message Id: 2319074


 New Savannah Taming advice?

Thanks everyone so much for all the advice! It’s understandable to say that the animals just know to come to us for food, or are not really tame but just hungry, but I’d like to think that they do bond with humans on some sort of emotional level aside from reliance on their next meal. I know that my ball python simply tolerates me because he’s a species that rely on stealth and being hidden away from predators and their prey, which prompted me to go for a monitor who might have a better chance at actually enjoying the interaction. I’ve seen Cuban Rock Iguanas that would walk up and demand that they be pet, so I’m hoping that someday I might share that kind of relationship with my sav. I’m planning on leaving my monitor to himself until he’s settled in and becomes more bold without fear of being seen, then attempt handling. She’s already tong feeding which is half the battle.

Thanks again everyone!



07/10/16  07:26pm

 #2319081


PuppyLizard
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  Message To: Escape312   In reference to Message Id: 2319080


 New Savannah Taming advice?

Sounds like a good plan.If you give her everything she needs to be healthy, that is its own reward--just watching her grow and thrive. If it works out that you create a bond with her, all the better! You can count on one thing--she will learn when it is feeding time!

Don’t scrimp on the enclosure. It’s a challenge to set it all up correctly. Just for the substrate, we used three front end loaders of top soil, and 350 lbs of play sand. I had to carry all of it, one bucket at a time, in a 5 gallon bucket, up a set of stairs to get it to the enclosure site. My husband had to reinforce the floor where we built it! The deep substrate is critically important for maintaining high humidity. I have a hygrometer on each end of the enclosure to check humidity and temp (80+ degrees on the cool end and 100 degrees on the warm end) and a bank of two 45 watt flood lights to maintain a basking temp of 130+. I also have a UVB light at the basking site.

I think you mentioned a diet of boiled egg and super worms. Most keepers limit chicken eggs. Many feed quail eggs for a treat. Try pinkies or cut up fuzzys. Whole animals are important. Use a calcium supplement routinely. My baby sav has gotten disinterested in crickets but loves night crawlers and shrimp. I also keep Repashy Meat Pie on hand for those times when I’m short on mice/worms. You’ll have fun with the tong feeding and can create exercise for her by having her chase her prey as she gets more confident. Enjoy!!



07/11/16  06:30am

 #2319082


PuppyLizard
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  Message To: PuppyLizard   In reference to Message Id: 2319081


 New Savannah Taming advice?

Forgot to mention humidity range, which is critically important. My enclosure stays at about 37% humidity on the warm end and 87% on the cool end. Humidity in the burrow is 99%.

I keep a water dish with about 1 inch of water in it. It is big enough for the whole lizard, which right now is only 12 inches. I’m going to add a second water dish because Summerdog poops in his almost daily--which is actually quite convenient for cleaning. I’m building up the soil to be bio-active, with leaves, rocks and rotting wood, but am not quite there yet.

Any suggestions?



07/11/16  06:48am


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