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Another Diet Question

Discussion in 'Monitors' started by Dragoness, Apr 6, 2010.

  1. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    You`ve learned a hard lesson, I`m positive it will never happen again to any of your monitors, feeding a diet consisting mainly of mice is a BIG mistake!
    The point you make about the temps/refusing food is also VERY important with this particular species, because in the wild they don`t feed for maybe 8 months of the year during the dry season, so keeping the temps elevated year round and feeding continuously may not be the best idea. Even my ornatus which is a tropical species gets a "rest" period for around 3 months during the winter months, (lower temps, less food), and I was even accused of keeping him too cool)!
  2. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    Mollusks raise another question for me - and this is probably needless paranoia - but do the sharp edges of a shell pose any threat (I'm assuming not...) since it is a staple of wild monitors...?

    Also - I'm still trying to find a latin name, and more info about Baja land snails (any toxicity, where are they from, are they legal in Florda? etc)
  3. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    I couldn`t find anything on the Baja snail either. As far as the shell of snails being a problem, not in the slightest, they have very blunt crushing dentition as adults, well adapted for just that type of prey. (I`ve mentioned this before, but ALL the African Varanid species change their tooth structure during ontogeny).
  4. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    I know their dentition is well equipped to handle it, but I have this paranoia about perforated or punctured digestive organs.
  5. billw

    billw Member

    Hello murrindindi, thanks so much for the compliment, I wish I could say that my behavior on other forums is identical, but it gets pretty frustrating battling the dog food and newspaper keepers and I definitely lose my cool.

    I'm really torn on quoting this as it was posted on another forum, and I hope that's not in bad taste. But this is a quote from Bennett from last month:

    "Let me try to rephrase why I don't think you should say that bok will do ok on a diet of only mammals. 1) It's a highly specialised monitor. None of the other African monitors behave like this, they are all generalised, like my pig lizards. They will eat carrion and consume any animal that wont poison them or eat them back, and their diet from one week to the next will probably consist of lots of varied species. A water mnitor might eat fish one time, then some baby birds, croc eggs, decomposing squirrel, maybe a snake, all in the space of a couple of weeks or less. But not bok. For the babies its orthopterans, scorpions and molluscs, day in day out. Sometimes they eat frogs as well, but it's not a regular thing. The adults eat Iulus, orthopterans, scorpions and snails. That's virtually all they eat. It's not just me saying this. Cisse looked in Senegal when I was 5 years old, and I just found the same in Ghana as he had found there. You have to go half way round the world to find another monitor as specialised in its feeding habits as this one."

    We're in a really tough position here. We're having to rely on information for which we have no firsthand experience. Neither of us has been to Africa, so it's taking tidbits of information found here and there, direct conversations and really relying on the experience and observations of others. So who's to say? I would trust the above as of late, as it's a little over a month old.

    Great conversation, by the way.
  6. Og_

    Og_ Elite Member

    Hmmmm, I have that book and have tried to live by it as much as possible for a few years!

    Bennett said that rodents make up about 1% of the monitor diet.

    Monitors Will and have eaten rodents!

    To me, Rodents are not numerous in areas that monitors roam!
    The savannas of Africa are not "Hot Spots" for rodent populations!

    I don't believe that monitors feed primarily on rodents, But they will eat everything they come across! They definitely are opportunists!

    I would like to see anyone offer any kind of meat to a monitor and have it turned down!
  7. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    First, I wasn`t trying to compliment you, it`s perfectly obvious you DO have knowledge and experience with these animals, and it`s always a pleasure to have an intelligent discussion without personal insults if there`s a slight disagreement on some points. You are a most welcome "newcomer" to this website, and I personally hope you will continue to offer advice, and if you notice a mistake, point it out, (but if it`s one of mine, be gentle)... ;)
    Now back to the question of savannah monitors eating vertebrate prey;
    From the info I have (relying on others as you rightly point out) in the wild they DO indeed take vertebrate animals (amphibians, at least), even if very rarely, and in the piece you quote, Daniel is saying they will not do well on a diet of only rodents; I agree!
    I have little doubt that if the animal is kept under optimum conditions, the feeding of a mouse perhaps every 2 or 3 weeks will do little harm, but again, I stress the most important (frequent) prey items should be inverterbrates.
    It IS a great conversation, and I hope we have many more, and don`t lose your cool, especially with a few of the less experienced who are trying desperately to impress, but create nothing but confusion and disruption, we ALL lose when that happens, and it gets you absolutely nowhere!!
    One final very small point; I have indeed visited Africa on several occasions, but not the areas the savannah monitor originates from!
  8. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    I agree re the opportunistic feeding on rodents etc, but I have to tell you, they ARE quite common in Africa!

    MDFMONITOR Elite Member

    that's what i'm beginning to think.

    MDFMONITOR Elite Member

    I'm sure Bennett had said somewhere that even though there were plenty of rodents around that they often by passed them as a food source, can't remember where i read it though.
  11. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    That would make sense in a way - if Inverts are abundant, and available (and generally slow moving, considering the kinds of inverts they ate) then why bother with rodents that move faster and are harder to catch?

    Most animals will not refuse a meal, but think about how much easier it would be to catch a millipede than a mouse, if you're not built to go after mice.
  12. billw

    billw Member

    Yes it was on another forum, he mentioned that his observations were that rodents were plentiful but they consistently and specifically hunted and sought out insects and mollusks.
  13. gbassett

    gbassett Elite Member

    It was also mentioned that Savannas could not be baited.Which would mean that carrion is not part of there diet.After that discussion I changed my views on there diet.I used to support the 60\40% in favor of rodent,to they diet needs to be 95% insects.

    P.s. Bill welcome to the site it always nice to see a familiar face.

  14. Og_

    Og_ Elite Member

    Africa is a big place! I'm mainly talking about the savannahs. As you know, the savannahs are semidry grasslands.
    I'm not sure what rodents would have to eat under those conditions.
    And when I say rodent, I mean rat and mouse-like rodents that live off of grain. I.E., the ones that are sold in the pet trade as feeders.

    There are more exotic types of rodents that are insect eaters and are much leaner in body fat compared to their slower moving grain eating cousins. But, they don't generally create large populations.

    Sorry, If I used the word rodent too broadly.

    I also have to correct myself from my earlier statement saying that Bennetts work showed that rodents make up 1% of the monitors diet.

    Instead he said that only 1% of collected monitor droppings showed any sign of rodent intake.

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