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Feeding Savanna Monitors

Discussion in 'Monitors' started by JPow, Feb 4, 2012.

  1. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Hi Wayne, probably because so few actually build suiitable habitats for them, and that`s the reason they don`t live very long in captivity. You`ve built a fine enclosure that will surely support the monitor, that`s a great example for anyone to copy!
  2. Og_

    Og_ Elite Member

    I don't wish to argue, However an occasional rodent is just fine as long as it is snack size and not so big as to take many days to digest. I hate repeating myself especially when I have already stated that they need to eat primarily insects. The thing is, They have a multitude of prey in the wild. However, while in captivity, They get super worms and roaches at best. Tell me how that's a natural diet?
    I Love my monitor as if she were a child! I have argued here head to toe with people over proper care! I left for a time because I was tired of arguing!

    "barelybreathing", The only advice that I can give you is when you make such an assertion, Provide some sort of reference to back up your opinion. Otherwise, ...
  3. BarelyBreathing

    BarelyBreathing Elite Member

    If you've been following this thread, I have provided evidence to back up my facts.

    Also, nobody ever said super worms and roaches are enough for them. Most of us feed crickets, earth worms, slugs, snails, grasshoppers, locusts, crab, shrimp, and crayfish as well.
  4. Infernalis

    Infernalis Elite Member

    Like she just said, Roaches, Grasshoppers, crickets, fresh organic shrimp, Crayfish, big garden slugs, snails, beetles, night crawlers, small crabs...

    As for reference, the Daniel Bennett 2000 field study, University of Aberdeen, Department of Zoology clearly states that when he pumped the stomach contents of the sample group, and performed 2 dissections, the stomach contents contained insects and mollusks, I don't recall reading anywhere in that study that mice were found. Did you? and if so, could you please circle the paragraph and show me. I would be so appreciative.

    I am not trying to argue, maybe I just missed it. Thanks.
  5. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Hi BarelyBreathing,
    you don`t have "facts", you just have your own version of them, which excludes anything that involves feeding vertebrates to captives ...
    Savannah monitors in the wild, once at the juvenile stage (approx 6 months) take vertebrate prey, so they CANNOT be described as invert feeders only.
    Can you tell me which vitamins, proteins and trace elements you are depriving them of when feeding inverts exclusively, and what effect you "know" that has on their short and long term health? Thanks!

    Hi Greg,
    it`s nice to have you back posting, and to hear your monitor is still alive and well!
    A properly supported monitor (including exanthematicus) will quite easily fully digest a suitably sized rodent in 24 to 36 hours, and the energy supplied will allow normal activity. They are quite active animals compared to most reptiles, even in captivity, if that isn`t the case, there`s something wrong.
  6. Infernalis

    Infernalis Elite Member

    Very true, I see way too many pics of fat savs just sitting around doing nothing..
  7. BarelyBreathing

    BarelyBreathing Elite Member

    I like how you think that scientific data collected from years of field research can't be considered "facts", and your opinions (because until they are proven, that's what they are) are gospel. Funny.

    And you also ignore everything I say about appropriate vertibrate prey, or did you not know that reptiles, fish, and birds have spines?
  8. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    I remember you mentioning a while back that there were some snakes and a frog that were suitable prey, where do the keepers living outside of America get those species, how much are they, how often should they be fed, and in what proportion to the other items, and finally (for now), why haven`t you advised bradyloach to get them, just feed inverts?
    What`s the difference nutrition wise (including vitamins, proteins, trace elements) between those items and a rodent? Thanks!

    Again, if they aren`t supported, they can`t digest ANY food type efficiently, that`s what causes obesity (ill health) and finally, in the overwhelming majority of cases, early DEATH...
    If you only have the one way of doing something, it often results in failure, open minds learn, closed one`s do not (genius), that box of knowledge was well worth the £27 I paid on Amazon....
  9. jarich

    jarich Elite Member

    The difference in those types of inverts is not the vitamins, minerals, etc but the fat levels. Rodents are about 3 times as fatty as frogs, snakes, and lizards, if not more. And saying they can eat them if properly supported is kind of like saying diabetics can have sugar as long as they run 10 miles a day. Its true, but the doctor doesnt tell diabetics to go eat sugar and run ten miles, they tell you to lower your sugar intake. Again, not saying that the occasional mouse is a big deal, but I dont understand the fight over recommending them all the time.
  10. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    True and not true. Commercially bred mice would undoubtedly fall into this category, but field mice are generally much leaner from what I've seen. I have seen a lot of them. But it is true that rodents even lean ones would have a higher bodyfat percentage than other diet options.

    I really don't get the whole diet debate thing. No one here can say whats best either way as they have no results. The study may have begun but it has not ended yet. So there are no conclusions only theories on how it's going to end.
    Like it or not captivity is very different than having acres of native environment. To say that there is no difference is silly in my opinion. Captivity is is a biosystem comprised of only what we have introduced.
    No one I repeat no one will replicate their natural living conditions in captive housing. One might get close, but it won't be 100 percent. So there will always be differences.
    We can theorize that their diet should be identical as in the wild. But it's still only theories.

    It still all comes down to conditions in the enclosure. Humidity and temperatures to name the main ones.
    I don't think I'll have anything besides the Odatria species. Much easier to provide everything to them and let them choose what they want. Do that with a 4 ft and up monitor, takes a lot of space. Very few offer them the world in their little boxes.
    We have to give them EVERYTHING so they can choose what they need.

    Just my thoughts, wham slam blam.
    Honestly if we wanted the best for monitors, We wouldn't be keeping them in our big boxes. ;)
  11. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Hi again jarich, you misunderstand, I asked which vitamins, proteins and trace elements were in the inverts that were also in the vertebrates, because an all invert diet would be lacking, as they contain different types, so which will the animal/s be deficient in, and how will you supplement them. We need details so we can start advising newcomers of what may be missing in an all invert diet as is so often being recommended lately.
    I believe BarelyBreathing has raised a 10 year old V. exanthematicus on an invert only diet, obviously I`m not asking you for details on that particular animal, but well done to her!
    Can I ask how long you`ve been keeping varanids (and which species), and have you managed to get a few pics of your Savannah monitor yet?
    Two questions: Which rodents are 3 times as fatty as which other acceptable vertebrates, and why don`t you want to contact the scientist that did the study on wild diet, and ask him why he and his co author recommended feeding them to captives in his book (I refer to Daniel Bennett).
    It certainly is VERY confusing for ALL of us, even moreso, when a few months ago, Daniel (Bennett) asked me if I could get a video of the Savannah monitor of a friend choosing between either an insect or rodent, because he`d be interested to know which it took first!
  12. jarich

    jarich Elite Member

    I suppose the debate is a little like parents get when they talk about their children. Everyone gets really passionate, and there are different levels of how picky everyone is. I suppose with that in mind, if I wanted to do what was best for my kids I wouldnt be letting them live in a city. But they do, and my monitor is in a box. So beyond that I try to do what is best for them. And in keeping with that, while I let them eat things like bacon sometimes (And Mike, if I let them choose, they would be eating it all the time ;) ) I am also careful to make sure that I watch what they eat closely. As well, though I live in a city, I still want them to exercise to the levels that their physiology dictates, not their environment. I think its the same for diet. We shouldnt change their diet because they are in captivity, because though their environment might have changed, their physiology hasnt changed at all since their capture. They are still adapted to what they are fed in the wild.

    Plus, debates are fun :D

    Ah, I did misunderstand you then, I thought you meant the differences between rodents and other vertebrates. Sorry about that. I think its important to question what you are talking about as again many keepers do not pay enough attention to what they are feeding their feeders. Its the reason why pet store crickets are often useless and captive rodents are so fatty. I think what you are saying is a very valid point, and needs to be addressed as much as the diet of the monitors themselves. Its practically the same thing!

    Again, Im just coming at this from the point of view of what I know about biology, chemistry, ecology, etc and from what I have read about varanids, not from any extensive years of keeping Savannahs. I have only had my savannah for about a year, and that is the only one I keep. How long do I have to keep one to be able to talk about them? Im not and have never said Im an expert, just that I wanted to offer my thoughts to this debate.

    As to contacting Daniel, Id love to. Not just for this but also for a few other questions. He doesnt seem to be on the varanus forum much anymore and my mampam emails to him didnt get a response. (Id also like to give him some hassle about the book I bought off the mampam site that never showed up ;) )

    And as to him contacting you to get a pic of the monitor taking a rodent first, my first response would be why arent more of them eating rodents then in the rodent heavy grasslands and fields where they are imported from? I would think that these captive environments you speak of are at play here...
  13. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Hi Mike, jamesw had a 15 year old, I know of an 18 year old (recently died), and another 15 year old, all fed on a diet including rodents, then Greg (og) has his 6 yr old, Randy had a 6 year old. The numbers are pathetically low, but then the numbers fed on anything else are no better from what I can see here, at least. It`s those awful conditions again, they just keep jumping out at us the whole time... The real killer!
    I must disagree Michael, we keep them in TINY boxes... ;)
  14. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    I agree to a point. While their physiology hasn't changed the environment in which their physiology was adapted to has changed. If they were warm blooded it wouldn't make a lot of difference. But being cold-blooded. The captive environment could have more than a little effect on their ability to process foods in the same way. Am I right? It's a question, I'm not entirely sure.

    I also agree debates are fun. Just don't know which side I'm on in this one,lol
    On the fence I think. But I like learning more about monitors and you can't learn if people don't share.
  15. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Hi again, I`m glad it was just a misunderstanding, that`s what happens quite often!
    As far as not receiving the book, Daniel isn`t responsible for the company that`s selling them, though I know that another member didn`t get hers, she managed to contact him and it was there within the week.
    I`m not sure he`s at home just now (in the U.k), but I`ll send him a message and see if he can help with the book if he`s out of the country it may take a few days to get a reply, but I`ll let you know...
    I wasn`t asking how long you`d kept them to criticise, just interested to hear which other species you may have had! Anyone is free to comment on Varanids, whether they`ve kept them or not, as long as they make it clear they have no personal experience, and it`s just an opinion without experience.
    If you read his articles, the size of wild Savs where he studied them was quite small; females becoming sexually mature measuring 27cm (10.5 inches) total length, that surely means there are far easier prey than rodents, not that they can`t process them, and that`s what I mean whenever I say they aren`t "specialist" varanids.
    The hatchlings may be forced to be obligate "insectivores" because of their very small size. We don`t know whether a 120cm (4feet) adult would take rodent prey more often (who`s checking either way?), but it would seem strange to me that they wouldn`t at least try on ocassion, they are opportunistic..
    The main point for me, is that this isn`t the wild!!

    Michael, please be careful you don`t fall off the fence, it`s a looonng way down!
    I think you may be incorrect (as opposted to wrong), the captive environment when it allows them to operate at their maximum level would not effect their ability to process foods they may not take very often in the wild.
    In effect, captivity "should" offer ideal conditions for growth, longevity and reproduction... It has already been/is being done many times over many generations with a number of species, unfortunately not V. exanthematicus, the "beginners" monitor in almost all cases, it seems..
  16. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    I think that's the key. Which unfortunately doesn't happen as often as it should.
  17. Infernalis

    Infernalis Elite Member

    Near the end when Chomper was getting really sick, he had been refusing food for a few days (a very bad sign) I released a small hopper rat in his cage, and he chased it down and hit it hard.

    I am not even going to say one way or the other if it was good for him, But I know I smiled for the first time in a while when that happened, because even if it was only for a moment, he behaved like a monitor should.

    We all know that his demise did not come from diet, he was fed almost exclusively on Arthropods and Mollusks, it was poor environmental conditions in his enclosure that killed him.

    And at this time, I am highly inclined to believe that it's this very same reason so many Savs die so young.
  18. BarelyBreathing

    BarelyBreathing Elite Member

    I've been gone all day, and the sad thing is I haven't missed anything. Lol.
  19. Infernalis

    Infernalis Elite Member

    The wheels on the bus go round and round eh?

    It does seem like we are talking in circles here, everything being said has already been posted once or twice before.
  20. BarelyBreathing

    BarelyBreathing Elite Member

    Darn you! Now that song is in my head.

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