Mangrove Monitor

Mangrove Monitor

The Mangrove Monitor (Varanus indicus) is native to Australia, New Guinea & other surrounding islands.. They can live 10 - 20 years and grow to 3 - 5 feet. Their conservation statis is Least Concern (LC).

The Basics for Mangrove Monitors

  • Housing
  • 6' W x 2.5' D x 3' H minimum
  • Substrate
  • Aspen shavings, cypress mulch, soil or newspaper
  • Lighting
  • Basking Light
  • Temperature
  • 80 - 120 ° F
  • Food
  • Mealworms, crickets, eggs, mice

A Mangrove Monitor can easily be housed as a pet and with the proper care, they can live up to 20 years. They originate from Northern Australia and are a widespread reptile on many of the Pacific islands such as the Solomon Islands and the Marshall Islands. They can grow up to 5 feet so you can imagine, even as hatchlings, they’re fairly big in comparison to most lizards and they grow fast!

Mangrove Monitor Care Sheet

At first, a small Mangrove Monitor will appear shy especially when feeding, you might need to leave the room until the monitor is brave enough to exit his or her shelter and feed. Repeat this process until they’ve warmed up to you.

Mangrove monitors have very sharp claws and teeth surrounded by a powerful jaw. They will not hesitate to bite/scratch if they feel uncomfortable so it’s important to take extra care when dealing with them. They can do a fair amount of damage to humans – and they are very quick.

Cage Setup

They can grow to a considerable size so it’s important to house them in a tank as big as 6ft long and 2.5ft in depth right from the beginning of birth – as it will be a hassle for you to upgrade the aquarium at a later date. As hatchlings, it’s important to have multiple shelters and hideaways.

Heating & Lighting

Mangrove Monitors originate from Northern Australia and surrounding countries so they are very used to hot temperatures, it’s important to have the correct heating and lighting within the enclosure to make sure your lizard gets the best chance at a long life.

An overall cage temperature of 80 – 90 ° F is optimal with a basking area with a surface temperature of 120 ° F. This can be achieved by using your average reptile heat lamp and some people even suggest a standard halogen bulb from your local department store. Whichever route you take, take your time installing it to ensure your monitor cannot come in direct contact with the lighting.

Install a basic timer to your lights on a 12-hour timer. Mangrove monitors need 12 hours of light and 12 hours of dark.


A variety of substrates are acceptable for mangrove monitors. Some of the suggestions are aspen shavings, cypress mulch, soil or newspaper. They enjoy digging and burrowing so do your best to maintain a depth of around 7 – 8 inches. Its worth noting that monitors can be a bit messy, especially when it comes to their water bowls. This can cause problems if their substrate remains damp for large periods of time as mold may develop.

Feeding & Watering

Fresh water should be available 100% of the time. Monitors can be a bit messy so you may have to experiment with different bowls to see which works best. Mangrove Monitors eat a variety of food and when they are young, make sure the food you provide them is also small – as a daily diet, they eat mealworms, crickets, eggs, and hoppers. Adults will eat mice, small rats, chicks and different seafood (they have been known to eat crayfish).

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