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Savannah Monitor Life Span in Wild (& Captivity)also Size

Discussion in 'Monitors' started by ashley36, Apr 3, 2013.

  1. ashley36

    ashley36 Elite Member

    What is the life expectancy in wild for Bosc monitors? I was wondering if a savannah monitor in captivity can live the life expectancy as is in the wild? Have you ever had a Bosc/savannah monitor live passed 15 years? What is the top size for a Bosc monitor in the wild? Could the monitor reach this size if it had ALOT of space to roam?
  2. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Animals in captivity, if kept properly live longer than in the wild. However most of them are not kept properly.
  3. Og_

    Og_ Elite Member

    Bosc's or Savannah monitors are a food source for many people who live within it's habitat. It is most often referred to as "Bush Meat". My savannah monitor is over six years old. There's not a lot of history in the study of monitor species as a whole, However that gap is being narrowed every year.
  4. crocdoc

    crocdoc Elite Member

    One of the things that rarely gets studied in most animals is longevity in the wild, mainly because it often involves time spans that go well beyond the length of a given project (never mind the time limits of a research grant). Longevity is a little different from life expectancy, for if one were to calculate the average life expectancy of a monitor it would be very short simply because most of them die in the first year or so. In my opinion, most of the larger monitors can live for many more years than one would expect.

    Although not savannah monitors, I've been casually watching and photographing wild lace monitors, Varanus varius, in a national park half an hour's drive from my home since I first started keeping lace monitors at home just shy of 13 years ago. A good spot to find them is always the picnic area, for they are attracted to the scraps of food to be found there. After visiting the park over a number of years I came to the realisation that I was starting to recognise individuals, so from then on whenever I saw a monitor I would take as many photographs as I could from different angles so that I could compare patterns with earlier and later photographs. The population, it turns out, was incredibly stable so after a few years of photographing monitors, new recruits were an uncommon sight. There are a few individuals that I don't even have to ID with photographs (although I always do, just in case), because I recognise them as easily as I do my 'pets' at home.

    This is Bluey, photographed in Nov 2000. He was full grown and I thought he looked to be a fairly old monitor back then, for he was scarred up and his skin had the worn, dried look of an old monitor. It takes a lace monitor around 8-10 years to get full size in the wild, but at that age they still look young and fresh, so my guess as to this monitor's age was at least 15 years, possibly closer to 20.

    Here he 11 years later, in December 2011. He hardly looked any different, other than looking a bit older and a bit more scarred up. He hasn't grown visibly at all since the very first time I saw him. Even if he was only 10 years old when I first saw him (which is unlikely), he'd still be 21 years old in this photograph, but my guess is that he was well over 30 years old by then.

    Here's Darkface. He was full size when I first saw him in Nov 2000, but fairly young as he was still fresh looking and reasonably brightly coloured. He would have been 8-10 years old.

    Here's Darkface two weeks ago (almost 13 years later). Same size, same pattern (although he's lost some of the banding on his snout). He's only now looking 'old' in the same way Bluey looked old in Nov 2000. His minimum age would be 21 years.

    edit: I should add here that in captivity, this species has been known to exceed 35 years.

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    Last edited: Apr 6, 2013
  5. diehardislanders

    diehardislanders Elite Member

    Crocdoc. Thanks for sharing your research. Very much appreciated. It would be cool if you could make a blog post about some of your findings and thoughts.
  6. crocdoc

    crocdoc Elite Member

    Thanks! Over the years I've been posting photographs of these guys, plus a few others, on another forum but we're talking hundreds of photographs over the years so it would take me ages to create a separate blog.

    In parallel with this, I've been watching a few heath monitors, Varanus rosenbergi, the other local species of monitor. That's been interesting from an entirely different perspective. They don't hang around picnic areas but I've been following the activities around a particular nest site over the years and have seen some pretty wild stuff.
  7. atone2308

    atone2308 Well-Known Member

    this is great!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i live in the city so no parks around here where i could spend my time having fun doing something like this.... great job!
  8. crocdoc

    crocdoc Elite Member

    So do I, actually. I'm five minutes from the centre of the largest city in Australia. :)

    Sydney is unusual in that it is surrounded by national parks on three sides (and the South Pacific on the fourth). I live at the 'A' pointer on this map (south of Willoughby and just north of the area labelled Sydney, which is the downtown area). The dark green areas are all national parks (only two or three are labelled, but there are actually a dozen or more, three or four of which are huge).

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  9. dhdkl

    dhdkl Member

    Nice research ! I hope my boy's live to 50 years old :)

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