The Water Monitor (Varanus salvator) is native to South and Southeast Asia. Varanus salvator is a lizard (reptile) member of the Varanidae family. This monitor is also known as the "Asian Water Monitor."
Caring for your Water Monitor
For a lizard that lives for 10 – 12 years and can grow up to 6 & 1/2 feet in length (in the most severe of cases) it’s quite clear these reptiles are a bit of a handful for any reptile enthusiast but with the right care and attention these water monitors can grow into perfect pets whilst in captivity. They originate in Eastern India and are found through out Asia specifically in Indonesia and Malaysia thus require a high temperature to survive in and that should be repeated in captivity too (often temperatures of 90 degrees Fahrenheit is what these water monitors require.
As these reptiles can grow to very large pets you should be well prepared to have the space sufficient enough to house an enclosure the size of a standard sized room in any average sized household – these reptiles spend most of their time of the floor of the enclosure and also require at least have of their enclosure to be a pool area for them to soak and bask in so space is very important. With many Water Monitor owners they use a whole room to house these reptiles; they cover the floor completely in their typical substrate and create a decent sized pool area for them to soak in as these reptiles love the water.
Heating and Lighting
Heating and lighting needs to be perfect for these reptiles to survive in and a room that has a temperature of 90 F is required – you can achieve this with a heating system, it’s not going to be a cheap setup but it’s the only way you can accommodate these reptiles.
As these reptiles need to be kept in a room type enclosure you need to make sure the floor space is not too cold for these lizards. Clean soil is the preferred option for water monitors so cover your floor completely making sure it is at least 6 inches deep.
Food & Water
Water Monitors eat a variety of foods and in a typical diet they will eat a couple of rats on a daily basis if they are adults – be prepared for the costs you will have to pay for the food these water monitors consume. They also eat mice and chickens – their diet in the wild is usually dead animals so keep this in mind when feeding your water monitor.
Their pool of water should be kept clean and fresh on a regular basis as these reptiles love to bask while they are soaking.
A male and female within an enclosure do not take long to mate and you may find the female will lay eggs only a month later – the eggs will need to be properly incubated at a temperature of 90F for
about 8 months or so before you see them hatch. Remember these lizards are one of the biggest you will find and handling them can be difficult – most water monitor owners choose to handle them regularly from when they are small so they grow into tame reptiles – but remember to wear gloves and other protections as they can bite and scratch without meaning to.
- Family: Varanidae
- Genus: Varanus
- Species: V. salvator
- Binomial Name: Varanus salvator
- Conservation Status: Least Concern (LC)
- Size: 5 - 6 Feet
- Lifespan: 15 - 25 Years
- Substrate: Fresh dirt for digging
- Lighting: Full spectrum
- Temperature: 80 - 125 ° F
- Humidity: 60 - 90%
- Food: Insects for hatchlings & appropriately sized rodents for adults