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Monitor Lizards


Monitor Lizards
Disease & Choosing a Monitor Print E-mail
ImageUnfortunately, the diseases of monitor lizards are many and the cures are few (Kohler 1992; Stanfill 1995). The good news is that once an imported monitor is cleared of disease, it should be possible to keep it that way by keeping its enclosure and furnishings clean and avoiding any contact with sources of contamination such as wild foods and other reptiles whose health is suspect or unknown.
Food & Supplements Print E-mail
ImageNo expense should be spared when raising animals destined to be fed to monitor lizards. They should be fed only fresh foods and kept under the best conditions possible. For guidance on breeding insects, rodents, snails and other suitable prey items you should consult members of your local herpetological society. With the exception of Gray's monitor (whose diet in captivity is discussed in Chapter 6), plants do not figure in the diets of monitor lizards.
How much space do they need? Print E-mail
ImageA myth, that is extraordinarily common considering its stupidity, is that an animal "will grow to the size of its surroundings, and then stop"! This, of course, is utter nonsense. A healthy reptile never stops growing, from the day it is laid to the day it dies. Many monitor lizards spend most of the day fast asleep, and may not initially appear to very active animals. However when they do move they tend to cover a lot of distance.
"Taming" Monitors Print E-mail
ImageWell-kept monitor lizards do not require any grooming. If their toenails become too long and need to be cut this should be taken as an indication that the furnishings in the enclosure are unsuitable. Dead skin should come off of its own accord. If it needs to be pulled off this indicates that some environmental parameter (probably humidity) is incorrect.
Monitors as Pets Print E-mail
ImageThe Shorter Oxford English Dictionary defines a pet as "any animal that is domesticated or tamed and kept as a favourite, or treated with fondness". Monitor lizards can certainly not be domesticated. If you allow one the run of your home it will cause untold damage without showing the slightest remorse. If you let it out of the house it is highly unlikely that it will ever come back of its own accord.
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The Butaan Project
The Butaan Project - Research
butaan3.jpgThe only obligate fruit-eaters among reptiles are three species of monitor lizard that live in the Philippines. Frugivorous vertebrates tend to be able to fly (almost all are bats and birds) and so these lizards have a unique ecological role as highly specialized and relatively immobile fruit eaters. Before this project started, the only studies of this unique giant and endangered lizard had involved killing the animals. We have developed a set of techniques that allow us to learn about these animals in a completely non-destructive way.


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