Discussion in 'Monitors' started by Rich, May 28, 2012.
That makes good sense.
I just now re-read this entire thread and would like to offer an observation I have made over the course of nearly a year.
On March 13, 2012 I accepted delivery of two neonate Savannah Monitors and immediately placed both in an 8X4X4 "adult" cage.
Substrate - deep bio active soil
Temperatures - Basking spot 147 degrees, average air temperatures of around 90 degrees.
Heat source - 50 watt halogen flood lights at basking platform only
Humidity - varying gradient
Diet - Rodents, earthworms, roaches, crayfish & prawns - With rodents offered as the primary staple every day
Peak growth rate one inch per week.
Current physical condition - active, slender and anything BUT obese, in fact if I had to attach a label, I would say athletic.
I offer this as an observation only, and you (the reader of this post) may process the data however you see fit.
I wouldn't doubt their activity level has a huge factor on them processing the rodents.
Not to mention most if not all of the obese ones you see being fed rodents are in minimal sized enclosures and inadequate temperatures.
In comparison, Chomper was fed on a nearly all invert diet, he ate LESS than one of these lizards do per meal and less often.
he was a fat 8 pounder who's belly dragged, tail drooped and he couldn't tripod if he wanted to.
The huge difference was small cage, no burrowing substrate, poor basking temps.
In summary - the reason I posted this is to lend as much credibility as I can offer that rodents are not what makes these lizards sick...
Skipping rodents is far from an acceptable substitute to correct caging.
Soaking & letting them out of the cage are also NOT acceptable substitutes to correct caging.
I once thought they were, and we all know how that panned out.
Thanks for sharing that Wayne. I have always encouraged rodents, it is nice to know that many people follow your two and get to see that rodents are not the problem!
Hi Wayne, I`m confused, on other forums you mentioned Chomper was fed 1 (one) pound of inverts daily, and he was almost 3 feet ToL and weighed either 11 or 12 pounds?
If I had to attach a label to the largest of your two monitors I would say a "little underfed" and needs satiating more often. This is not the wild, neither should your monitors resemble the sometimes underfed individuals in nature, though I think it`s a good idea at times to keep them a little hungry. I think the smaller of the two looks fine, nice body condition. I`m not, and never have been interested in the "fastest growth rates in history" which means as much food as they can possibly eat constantly.
A small enclosure and no burrowing substrate have nothing to do with an obese monitor (it`s the conditions inside that you mention). One last point; housing two together means your current setup is really very small indeed (many people don`t seem to take that into account).
If you can find that and quote it, I would be most appreciative. Especially since I never weighed out his food. ( I may have been talking out my bum, since it was during a period when I was so stubborn and sure I was doing nothing wrong, so I may or may not have said that.. If so I applaud your memory)
You are right about the 11 pounds, I had to go dig through a year old thread to find it. wow 11 pounds, he was FAT.
Your confusing me Stefan, in the same paragraph you tell me he's underfed, yet close the statement with a slight contradiction, care to shed some clarity on that???
Again, after a rethink, the lack of burrowing has much more profound problems - dehydration
However, don't you think they expend any energy digging those burrows? (simply asking)
That's kind of my thought as well. A larger enclosure and burrows will cause the monitor to expend more calories that won't be stored as fat.
Sorry, I don`t have much time, it`a late. Expending energy by digging a burrow is hardly sufficient to keep them "athletic", neither is chasing some crickets/roaches/whatever around a few square metres! They can travel several km in a day at certain times, that`s expanding energy (none of us have the means to do that, of course).
You describe the larger monitor as "athletic", based on what? In some of the pics he looks like a snake on legs (no offense to the monitor or snakes)!
I haven`t contradicted myself at all, I describe the smaller animal as having a decent body condition, so I assume he gets more food, mainly because you mentioned feeding separately and at least to begin with offered more to increase growth, as he was significantly smaller a couple of months ago according to the photos/videos/your reports.
I hope these responses will encourage you to discuss their care more, because it seems to me you spend more time telling others how to do this before you`ve learned how yourself. There are improvements to be made in my opinion.
I know you know that anything I say is meant to help you help your animals, nothing more.... I need to log out!
I guess I agree in the fact that the enclosures could hardly compare to their natural environment when you compare calorie expenditure per square foot of roaming.
However I would think that digging burrows would expend a decent amount of energy and that combined with proper temps for digesting should do a fair amount in preventing the onset of their famed captive obesity.
I agree Mike
While they can not achieve miles(or kilometers ) of distance, if they are regularly having some kind of stimulus, they can still achieve quite a bit of exercise. I like to regularly rearrange furniture, hide food, and collapse burrows. MDF and Wayne both have shown big bursts of energy used to reach prey repeatedly with different methods.
I am not certain, but I would bet the average monitor isn't traveling miles, yet has a small home range in which a lot of lazy time happens. I would think the traveling would be during the pairing up times of breeding season. ---That is to say FR is wrong and they don't pair bond in the wild. (I had too) In which case they would do it to escape her.
I'm under the impression that some degree of pair-bonding occurs.
Edit: I'll be sure locate the source of this impression and share.
I too believe it occurs. I didn't think it was really proven though.
Hi Randy, I didn`t get the impression Mark (MDF`s) monitors had an opportunity to take much excercise, other than he ran them during feeding approx 20mtrs 3 times per week, if I remember correctly (that`s nothing, though still more than many get it seems)! Wayne hasn`t mentioned how much excercise his animals get unless I`ve missed it, but it would be interesting to learn how many hours each day they are active (hint, hint)?
When you hypothesise that the average monitor in the wild has a small home range, how small? According to research on a number of species they can move relatively far during periods of activity (daily) just searching for food, let alone during the breeding season/s looking for a mate. Of course there are more sedentary species, but that doesn`t include V.exanthematicus as far as I`m aware (at least during the wet season), which is what the object of the excercise is, unless keepers prefer them to remain relatively inactive for months at a time?
As always it`s about offering them enough energy to carry out daily activity, and once growth has slowed, reduce the ammount accordingly.
Randy, I don`t understand what you mean about FR or pair bonding in the wild, can you explain? Thanks!
lol I was just mocking him really, I'm feeling a little fiery today! It was a reference to his claims that they all are bonded except for those transients that the "academics" find. Don't dig to deep into it, it wasn't supposed to be that meaningful of a comment. lol
I like digging deeply into things, making something out of nothing is one of my specialities..... :-"
Actually there`s a Russian scientist (Alexyi Yu Tsellarius) who studied the desert monitor (V. griseus) for 15 years, he found they do live in groups, and have a very complicated social structure, perhaps in some cases pair bonding does happen (but not for life)? I think I`ve seen something on komodoensis in that respect, but can`t remember whether it`s in a book or article.
Varanids have evolved to be wide ranging predators (many species, at least), but none of us can offer them the space in captivity, apart from walking them a few metres when they get some "outside the tank" time now and again, which is pretty pathetic for them!
I could not agree with anything more than that statement above Stefan.
Of course, half the pictures are before feeding, half the pictures are with bellies full of food.
Littlefoot halfway into a feeding... as good a belly shot I could get.
While they may not do enough to compare to the wild, the opportunity and examples are there for someone to do it on a more consistent scale.
I would be interested to read anything you have on Alexyi Yu Tsellarius and his studies.
They are very active quite frequently. there is almost always something going on in that cage.
again in contrast, Chomper sat and did nothing all day.
Separate names with a comma.