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Savannah Monitor- Is This Abnormal Behaviour?

Discussion in 'Monitors' started by gothicangel69, Dec 16, 2012.

  1. gothicangel69

    gothicangel69 Elite Member

    Thanks for the link to that article. I actually read that one last month (always reading up on them to learn as much as possible) and found it was a great article and very informative. While it is very sad what happened to Chomper, at least his story is helping to improve the lives of many other Savannah Monitors. It was actually after reading his story that I realized how sensitive these creatures are, and how important it is to provide the proper environment. Before I just took it as fact, but I'm starting to learn exactly why the environment should be a certain way and the negative outcomes of improper husbandry. I find myself now educating every savannah owner (and pet store) that I see about their proper care and why its important. There have been two people already in the past 6 months that have come to me for advice and wouldn't act on the advice given. Both of them came back to me in a month's time and told me their monitor had passed on (one owner said his sav liked to play dead when he picked it up (it was a hatchling). I explained why force handling was not a good idea and that he was going to make his monitor ill, but he didn't listen because the pet store had told him to force handle it. Another had theirs in a fish tank with papertowel and one heat lamp. I also explained to them the importance of heat and humidity, but they didn't listen. Their monitor stopped eating and finally died.
    I'm appauled my how many people I hear about that have dying monitors, or ones that have died. I blame the pet stores and breeders for giving out wrong information, and the owners for not doing their own research.
    I got my sav from a breeder (they said it was captive bred, but I highly doubt that). The breeder told me to have a basking spot of 90ish, and keep the tank dry (they were keeping theirs on aspen shavings). I got wind from someone right after bringing him home that the breeder was full of bs, so immediately started researching and learned some startling information. I want to be able to proudly show off a healthy, happy lizard in 10 years :). I have done a ton of research on humidity, uvb requirements, diet, substrate and thermo-regulation, but there is still so much out there to learn. I have found that most information is from personal experience, and that research is a bit limited so it's hard to get cut and dry facts (such as the invert/vert debate, uvb importance, etc.). I figure a high variety in diet is the best course of action (inverts, mollusc, mammals, amphibians, lizards, snakes, etc.). I figure a high variety in diet will ensure he's getting most of the required nutrients. Once he gets older I was planning to add fertilized quail eggs, lizards, whole shrimp, amphians, and chicks to his diet. I'm neutral on the vert/invert debate, so please lets not start it here (as from what i've read it can get quite heated :)). I havn't been able to see any solid evidance that one diet is more important than another (such as an accurate case study), so figure I'll try my own thing. I would love any links that you guys recommend for reading. This new cage is going to be his life-long home, so I want it perfect.
    Also, if I post some pictures, could you guys let me know if you think its a male or female? I know someone on here said he looks male, but I wasn't able to get any accurate photos of his tail base yet. I think he's around 23inch tol, but I havn't measured him lately (I'll try to get that too).
    Sorry for the long post, that article always gets me going. Such a sad story :(. I have sympathy for the owner.
     
  2. gothicangel69

    gothicangel69 Elite Member

    Alrighty, I got some more pics.
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  3. gothicangel69

    gothicangel69 Elite Member

    And tail base. I just measured him and hes at 24 tol and is approx 8 months old.
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  4. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Hi, I still believe you have a male, and his body condition looks very nice, you obviously do at least feed to satiation. As far as the diet debate, it`s never been about whether to feed vertebrates as well as inverts (you should, without question))! ;)
     
  5. gothicangel69

    gothicangel69 Elite Member

    Thanks :). I try to keep a good eye on his weight. Glad you think he's a male, I was routing for one over a female.
     
  6. Infernalis

    Infernalis Elite Member

    Thank you, I am very proud of them.

    I still hate myself for not taking better care of him..
     
  7. gothicangel69

    gothicangel69 Elite Member

    Sorry for not updating, its been crazy with the shopping, and x-mass preparations, as well as doing some modifications to Sav's enclosure. I switched the 150w for a 50w halogen flood, and raised the basking surface temp to 155 (he LOVES it). Unfortunately, this lowered the lowest ambient temp below 75, so I replaced the UV bulb to a 75w infared until I can get another halogen bulb and lamp. I also rewet and tamped down all the soil in the cage. It now holds burrows perfectly and has for half a week now. Sav was not impressed by me messing with his cage, and is now holding a grudge but I'm hoping it didn't set his trust back by too much. As of now, the only time he allows me in the room without getting mad is when its feeding time (and even them I get the stink eye the whole time). Glad he's feeling better though. Nice to know the basking temp and soil consistency was the cause.
     
  8. gothicangel69

    gothicangel69 Elite Member

    Chomper was yours? In that case, I'm sorry for your loss. I would be devastated if anything happened to Sav. I commend you for telling your story though and sharing what you've learned. If it wasn't for people like you, I would probably have my guy in a fish tank with sand substrate.
     
  9. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member


    Hi, it`s good to hear you`re making improvements, but I must say that if the surface temp previously was 125f it was perfectly acceptable, that in itself would NOT cause the monitor to behave less than optimally, neither will a surface temp of 155f cause it to flourish (it just means it would reach "activity temp" slightly faster).
    Too much is being made of the different surface and ambient temp ranges by keepers with not very much experience and knowledge at this time (no offense to anyone)! ;)
     
  10. gothicangel69

    gothicangel69 Elite Member

    Definately no offense taken! I'm hear to leanr :). I had heard other keepers had higher basking temps, so figured it wouldn't hurt. He does really enjoy the added heat for some reason, so I figure I'll keep it that hot (he also has one at 120, but doesn't use it anymore). He just had a HUGE turd today though. I think he was backed up and not digesting properly. Hopefully the modifications will solve the problem. He spends most of his time either in his burrows, basking, or eating now. Although he gets up when I'm asleep as well as the water dish is always filthy in the morning. Can't wait to get him in the adult enclosure. I think he'll love it!
     
  11. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    The comments about surface temps were not directed at you, in fact not at anyone specifically, just that there are keepers touring the forums making statements that are not based on experience, just that they`ve read something somewhere so it must be a fact and they`ll "spread the word", and soon it IS a "fact" (or is it)??? :confused: ;)
    When you say you replaced the 150w bulb with a 50w halogen, and the UVB (tube?) with another 75w heat bulb, what`s the current humidity range and coolest ambient temp, and can you put a couple of photos up of the whole enclosure?
    Edit: Pics also of the heating/lighting setup. Thanks!
     
  12. Rakoladycz

    Rakoladycz Elite Member

    I honestly believe offer two basking spots if possible is best. Offering two differing temps one lower (~120ish)and one higher(~140ish), allowing the monitor to have their own preference. If only offering one I think a higher temp would be more appropriate as higher temps would help with digestion of larger prey items and encourage the immune system. Should the monitor not want to be under the temps that long they will surely move to a cooler area.

    If you haven't provided something warmer and they want it, they have no way of achieving that. Even if you find that the monitor doesn't use higher temps currently, something may arise that makes them want a higher temperature.

    I am not directing this an anyone in particular, just putting my opinion out there ;)
     
  13. gothicangel69

    gothicangel69 Elite Member

    I will try to get some pictures sometime tomorrow (up right now with a sick dog, and have a 6 hour drive in the morning, so I'll try my best :)). I took out the infrared and put back in the uvb yeserday morning as the infrared raised the lowest air temp into the low 80s (I heard 75 was what you want?). The lowest temp is now at 73, which is a bit low I know. Getting another 50w halogen tomorrow as the stores will be open again and will give that a go. Right now there is 2 50w halogens for the basking spot on one end, and a uvb on the other (cool end).
    Low end temp- 73
    High end temp- 92
    His burrow is directly under the basking spot, so I figure its relatively warm (not sure how to measure that without disturbing him).
    I understand the comment wasn't directed at me (sorry, don't know how to quote on this phone thingy) :), just wanted to let you know its hard to offend me when your giving advice about something I'm just learning about. Sorry if I didn't answer any questions, I'll add more information tomorrow when I get home.
     
  14. gothicangel69

    gothicangel69 Elite Member

    Sorry, humidity is a constant 80 on the cool end, and 68 on the warm end
     
  15. gothicangel69

    gothicangel69 Elite Member

    Sorry its been a few days. I've been having a few issues with my computer. Here are a few photos of the enclosure. I seem to have gotten everything fixed up. I put in the other 50 w halogen, and it has made a world of difference. The cool end of the enclosure is now 78 during the day, and as I turn off one of the halogens at night, its down to 74 come morning. Basking spot is 150 directly under the lights, and 120-130 off to the side. There have been no problems with his burrows holding up either, so hopefully that problem is solved. I'm still working on gaining his trust back, but he doesn't make a mad dash for his burrow when I enter the room anymore, so he's coming along.
    Going today to start picking up some material for the new cage :).
    Sorry the photos are a little dark. Sav was hiding right under the basking spot, and I didn't want to bother him by using the flash on the camera.
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  16. gothicangel69

    gothicangel69 Elite Member

    Oh, and don't mind the dates on the camera. lol. Just noticed they say its December 2nd. I'll have to change the settings on the camera.
     
  17. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Hi again, thanks for the pics! I think the enclosure is much too bare, more especially with the white walls, can you put some more cover in there?
    I also see the substrate is sloped up on one side, it`s much better to have it pretty level, you lose so much usable digging/burrowing space otherwise.
    I`d like to ask why one bulb seems quite far away from the other two, and what are you using for supplementary lighting?
     
  18. gothicangel69

    gothicangel69 Elite Member

    I noticed the cage did look a bit bare once I looked at the pics. I'll try to get some more hides in there asap (what are some things I can use? I think I have some old pieces of wood laying around that I can probably put some things together with first thing in the morning.
    I have no additional lighting at the moment, but will be adding back in the uvb once I find my other heat lamp (figured proper heat was more important than uvb at the moment). The cage actually is nicely lit, it just looks really dark in the photos because the room was dark and the halogens are so bright.
    The third halogen I bought was much larger than the others (still a 50w though), so I had to place it a bit farther than the others to get an even basking temp. Thinking about using the larger bulbs in the new cage as they give a much better temperature span (they are a bit more expensive, but that's ok).
    To be honest, the sloped soil was not intentional :). It just seemed to turn out that way when I re-packed the soil. I don't want to disturb him again by playing with it though, as he gets cranky and stressed.
    Any other issues I should be looking into besides the additional hides?
     
  19. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    I didn`t mean adding more hides as in making something he can go inside (like a box), it`s about all the open space, and the very exposed basking platform. Using large plastic plants around that area and sturdy logs that can be used for climbing, hiding under, etc.
    I`m not sure what you mean about an "even basking temp", so long as the surface is between approx 50 to 60c (120 to 140f) it`s fine, obviously the animal can move to either warmer or cooler spots in the basking site.
    Edit: What`s the basking platform made from?
     
  20. gothicangel69

    gothicangel69 Elite Member

    By even basking temp, I mean a space of 150 that's the length of his body. When I put it closer to the other lamps, I ended up getting a hot spot where the beam overlapped with the other light. Had to play around with the lights for half a day until I figured it out :).
    I can build him a wooden box for the other side of the enclosure tomorrow, and add in some more branches and clutter. Thanks for clarifying what you meant. We're supposed to get a huge storm tomorrow, so have the whole day to fix er up as I'll be stuck inside all day.
     

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