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Savannah Monitor Care Sheet

Discussion in 'Monitors' started by Rich, May 28, 2012.

  1. Rich

    Rich Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    I do not want to remove any more posts from this thread but I will. No one needs to call others liars and no one needs to assume they have all of the answers.

    Rodents are considered an unnatural prey item for Savs in the wild. Everyone agrees that in the wild their primary diet consists of invertebrates. As noted, the insects in those locals are adequate for the savs and they thrive on them. Do they occasionally eat rodents? Perhaps they do, perhaps they don't. Being opportunistic I doubt they would snub their nose at an easy meal if they were hungry. Do I think they eat them regularly in the wild, no I do not and neither does Daniel Bennett. Is there evidence that a Sav fed rodents will die sooner than one who is fed exclusively insects? I haven't seen it yet and that is what I wish to see.

    This is very much like the argument we had years back regarding iguanas eating meat. It was believed that animal protein caused renal failure but for years there was no data to back it up other than people reporting their iguanas dieing suddenly and each of them having the same story. Now we know better because research has been done. There needs to be some research done in order to find out if we are looking at the same issue with Savs and a rodent diet. Until that is done and something concrete is published, we are all speculating. I have argued this argument with iguanas and I was against animal protein. I personally don't believe that a diet primarily consisting of inverts but also including rodents is going to harm a healthy Sav who has proper temps, hydration, lighting and enclosure size. The biggest problem with rodents is that they have a much higher fat content than inverts. They also have a much higher protein and calcium content. A healthy and well exercised Sav who is not being overfed will be able to metabolize the fat and convert it to energy, just like humans can. The problems arise when the Sav is under exercised or overfed. Just like with humans, a high fat diet will result in medical issues. These are not debatable facts. Fat that is stored and causing obesity, in any species, will result in medical issues. Heck, humans die from heart attacks from it. If someone were to feed a diet exclusively of rodents and the Sav was not getting enough exercise or had improper temps, it WOULD become an issue. I personally wouldn't feed a Sav a diet that was exclusively rodents. Since I know their diet primarily consists of inverts I personally would try to offer a diet closest to that. I would however offer occasional rodents because they have great nutritional value for healthy savs. Inverts however would be the base of the diet, for me anyways.

    As the care guide states, this is going to be the choice of the owner. I need to see studies to dispel husbandry. I can't just take the word of someone against it when there are breeders who feed rodents regularly without documented or public issues. Those against rodents need to make some contacts to try and get some studies done. If some have been done and are buried on the net, link me to them! I have no issue adding info to the site that contradicts other info on the site. The idea is to learn and educate one another.

    People need to make their decisions based on what's out there. right now rodents are considered safe by the vast majority of owners and are utilized by captive breeders. That tide can and will change once information surfaces that proves they shouldn't be fed.
     
  2. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Hi again, you did say "Varanids" (I took that to mean all species?) should only be fed that prey in moderation.
    Do you have evidence that a properly supported monitor suffers healthwise if rodents were used regularly (even being the most important prey item, in some cases), though I`m NOT suggesting that should be the case with the Savannah monitor?
     
  3. Killerwhale

    Killerwhale Member

    Yes, I do believe most species should be limited in their feeding of rodents. However, it goes without saying that the larger the species the more important a role the rodents play in the diet. When necessary with larger adult species I don't see a problem in rodents being one of the main staples of a properly supported monitor.

    When I used the term varanids I was mainly referring to savannah's. I did use it loosely and I apologize for that. I write most posts under very limited time due to being at work.
     
  4. jaysin

    jaysin Elite Member

    ........................ Heres an 8x4x4 Sav enclosure
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  5. jaysin

    jaysin Elite Member

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  6. jarich

    jarich Elite Member

    A generally great post Rich. The only real issue I have is with the part I put in bold. In point of fact, there are a number of inverts with higher calcium as well as better Ca:p ratios; properly-reared earthworms, crayfish and snails to name a few. (And before everyone talks about parasites, Im talking about either captive raised specimens or ones you breed yourself. So no worry about any added parasite problems) While there is some debate about the digestibility of snail shell, the meat itself still has a very high amount of calcium.

    I say this not to give the impression that I think its detrimental to feed the occasional rodent, I would just like to make sure that inverts are given the credit they deserve. If raised and fed correctly, I do not feel there is any need to supplement an invert diet either. There is a reason so many varanid species live on inverts in the wild ;)
     
  7. Killerwhale

    Killerwhale Member

    "Would you mind explaining why you believe this? In my experience with mainly invert feeding dwarf monitors rodents can make up quite a large portion of their diet to no ill effects."

    That is just my opinion and my argument's are the same as every other invert vs rodent topic. If you choose to feed your dwarf monitors rodents by all means do so, it's obvious that it's working for you. I am not against the feeding of rodents to a properly supported monitor, I just believe they should be fed in moderation according to the size of the monitor. Personally with my dwarf's I feed rodents very scarcely, my reason being if I can satiate my monitor with a variety of invert's then I don't see the need to feed a rodent. However, like I said I do feed the occasional rodent. The smaller the species the easier it is to keep them satiated with insects, hence why I don't think rodents should be a main staple of smaller species. This is just my opinion and my own personal view.
     

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  8. Rich

    Rich Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Could use please forward me the nutritional content and the source for the crayfish (species), earthworms and snails (species). I have never seen their nutritional content posted. I have no doubt there are numerous species out there with higher calcium contents, better Ca:p ratios or perhaps even higher proteins as well. Realisticly the actual feeders people will use will be limited to those most readily available. Those include crickets, mealworms, superworms, etc. Am I saying this is right to do, no, but it is our reality in this trade. I am also not arguing that they should be fed an invert diet since that best replicates their native diets. I simply don't believe feeding rodents is an issue because as of yet not a single person posting has produced anything that says it is, other than their own opinions. This is a circle discussion. Until someone posts a piece of scientific data that suggests feeding rodents is a problem, they will continue to be fed. Do any studies exist? Are there any publications out there that suggest they shouldn't be fed?

    There are several reasons for an invert diet with the largest reason being the sheer amount of availability in Africa. Have you seen the size of some of the inverts in Africa? They literally have snails the size of softballs. Run a search on google, the insects are massive compared to our tiny crickets, apple snails, etc. We are comparing grapes and grapefruits. In their native habitat they have adapted to survive.

    Again, this is one of those useless arguements because we have no data being posted to support a non-rodent diet. There must be something out there since people are against it.
     
  9. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    We know the main issue with feeding rodents to Sav is to offset the much higher cost of feeding inverts. Not to mention the thrill of the kill feeding live or the ease of thawing a mouse compared to keeping insects.
    Lets not also forget that most Sav owners are inexperienced in keeping any reptile. Usually an impulse buy. So the numbers of data on Savs dying from eating rodents also coincides with improper husbandry.

    I have no doubt a properly supported Sav kept by an experienced person can thrive on a staple diet of rodents as I have heard of them. However I would be wary of steering a beginner in that direction as they need to have things bang on for proper digestion of those meals.
    I'm having a feeling of deja vu here.
     
  10. jarich

    jarich Elite Member

    Ill send you the data, yes. And once more, I am not stating this as a reason to exclude rodents entirely. My only point in bringing up the wild diet was in reference to the idea that inverts are by their very nature lacking in nutrients. That was the only part I was disagreeing with. Again, that part of my post was in no way referencing a non rodent diet. I understand the circular nature of that argument and have no desire to enter into it again. Youre absolutely right when it comes to sheer volume of food sources in the wild too; the crickets and snails there are huge by comparison to anything available here. And you are right about most people just feeding useless store bought crickets and mealworms. Most people also keep them in aquariums on sand.

    I know I constantly harp about what we feed our feeder prey, the reason being I feel like its almost as important as the habitat we create for them. Obviously the cage has to be good first, but once people get that straight then I think the next most important thing is getting their feeder prey to be as nutritious as possible. And hey, lets face it, if someone can get the cage right, then raising inverts and gutloading should be pretty simple by comparison. ;)
     
  11. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Hi jarich, which Varanid species live on inverts only in the wild, and should do so in captivity, because that`s the healthier/est option?
    And do you believe natural unfiltered sunlight has a role to play in the general health of wild Varanids, if yes, what happens in captivity where they receive little to none, and the overwhelming majority of keepers do not use the relatively expensive, good quality MVB bulbs?
    Do you have an easily procurable diet regime worked out for those people (mainly complete beginners)?
    I`m only being realistic, not trying to say it cannot or should not be done, so with that in mind, who`s going to wait one to two YEARS to breed snails, and then keep the colony going, or perhaps try breeding freshwater crayfish, etc?
    I totally agree the invert part of the diet is very important, as is what they themselves are fed.
     
  12. jarich

    jarich Elite Member

    Oh come on now Stephan, careful with putting words in my mouth. No need to pick a fight. I never said anything about any varanids that eat only inverts, or used 'should' for anything regarding food options. As I said before, the point of my post was merely to state that there are inverts that have just as high or higher amounts of nutrients as vertebrate prey, specifically calcium. I then went on to say that with proper prey husbandry there seems little need to supplement an invertebrate diet either. Invertebrates get a bad rap, when they can be very very nutritious.

    The 'realistic' part of your questioning seems strange, since we all agree that 'realistically' monitors are not easy animals to keep either way, and that set up comes first. If someone sets up a huge box full of deep sandy soil with temperature and humidity gradients correctly, I would question the idea that somehow they cannot then handle rearing some inverts. Most inverts are considered pests for a reason! Crayfish and earthworms are pretty darn easy to breed, same with snails. And once they have a colony breeding, its generally harder to stop them from breeding than anything else. Just ask any aquarium owner! Snails do take a bit of time, but can also be found in almost any pet store too. Earthworms are simple and also found just about anywhere. All can be found online if not in pet stores.

    Just to be a devils advocate, I guess I might ask the same question in response though. Who wants to breed mice?! Ugh, yuck! Of any feeder prey Ive ever bred I think that might be the last one Id breed again. I was so happy to get rid of my mice. Well, maybe crickets suck more. Its a close tie in my book. ;)
     
  13. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member


    Hi again jarich, I object to you saying I`m trying to "pick a fight"?
    As you can see, you stated the above, I took that to mean "live on", as not need (or not attempt) to take anything else, maybe I misunderstood, perhaps you can clarify?
    Also, would you supplement a gravid female`s wholly invert diet, or do you believe there`s no need, bearing in mind (for the sake of argument), 50% of the animals that are bought may be female, and become gravid in a relatively short space of time?
    And by the way, I`m not the one who turned this thread into another debate about diet, I`m only responding to what others are saying. ;)
     
  14. jarich

    jarich Elite Member

    Ok then, my apologies for the objectionable wording. It just seemed like you were taking things further to try to make a point; one which I was not trying to be a part of. There is a certain amount of proselytizing in your posts which I would like to remain separate from.

    To clarify, I was not suggesting that monitors only eat inverts, rather that numerous species have a large part of their diet made up of inverts. If you ate meat once or twice a week I wouldnt call you a vegetarian, but I would say you basically live on vegetables.
     
  15. Rich

    Rich Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    I almost deleted your post because I read it the same way. I decided to leave it to see where it went. I also can't figure out why you feel the need to bring up things that aren't being discussed Stefan. No one was discussing lighting at all. We are chatting about feeders. You are very "standoffish" in your posts when anyone disagrees or says something to the contrary of what you believe, even if that isn't your intent.
     
  16. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    There are definitely some nutritious insects.
    Maybe we should start breeding giant water beetles.
    Giant water beetles contain 19.8g of protein, 13.6mg of iron and a whopping 43.5mg of calcium per 100g.

    If not for our own consumption.
     
  17. mshrmheadcharge

    mshrmheadcharge Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

    Mmm...Water Beetles.
     
  18. jarich

    jarich Elite Member

    They are crazy archaic looking bugs! Id almost breed them just for pets, if I had the space. Shame about the venom though ;)
     
  19. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Hi Rich, I wasn`t discussing lighting? I was asking jarich whether he thinks that wild Varanids which most definitely DO receive supplementation in the form of natural sunlight, and the ommision of that in captives would mean the invert diet is lacking somewhat, more especially for gravid females fed an invert only diet (jarich stated he doesn`t think supplementation is needed)? Some of these issues are literally life threatening for the animals, so where`s the evidence gravid female Varanids need no supplementation on an invert diet in captivity?
    Very few newomers will worry about the nutritional content of the prey they offer, and advising them not to supplement is a big mistake in my opinion.
    Every time I disagree, someone accuses me of insulting them, and you (they?) think I`m being "standoffish"? If I think their info is unreliable I`ll say so, just as I expect others to do that if I`m mistaken!
     
  20. Rich

    Rich Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    It isn't what you post Stefan, its how you post it. We haven't received as many pm's about you as we did before but some of your posts do read as "standoffish". I know that most of the time that isn't your intent because I have been reading your posts for some time now. Thats why I didn't delete that post. Challenging peoples husbandry is encouraged if its believed they are making mistakes. Just try to be clear and consise with where you are going with it. I didn't realize your question regarding the lighting was being tied to supplementation because he never mentioned lighting. He mentioned supplements, which typically are in response to powders like calcium and vitamins.
     

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