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Zilla! (Sav Monitor)

Discussion in 'Monitors' started by poorMtnKids, Oct 4, 2008.

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  1. schlegelbagel

    schlegelbagel Frog Lover Premium Member

    You could add a live plant in a pot on the cool side. That would help hold in humidity and you wouldn't have to worry about substrate. :)
  2. Og_

    Og_ Elite Member

    I tried different soil substrates when I first got my sav. I even bought this high end stuff called excavator that claimed it would promote natural digging behaviour. It didn't. My sav never seemed interested in burrowing. She seems content snoozing in the hiding spot I provided. It's big enough to where she can hide completely. She only hides at night.
    I've always provided a water bowl big enough for her to get her entire body in including the tail. About twice a week, I take her out and soak her in a plastic tub with warm water for about an hour with the lid on for a little steam bath to keep down shedding issues.

    Having said this,I live in the southeast USA, And we have plenty of natural humidity to go around. I have a seperate reptile room that is closed off with no AC. I just leave the window open for the humidity in the warm months which is from april to october. The air only gets dry if the outside temps get above 95F or below 32F which isn't often.

    I hate to sound contradictory, but this has been my experience. My sav is coming up on her second birthday and is approaching three feet.:)
  3. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    Having soil in I find does keep the humidity higher. It releases the moisture slowly in a sealed environment. The top may cook off from the lamps.
    Remember there is a difference between moisture required for proper shedding and moisture required internally via breathing.
    You're in Georgia, I would think you would have the opposite problem of having too much humidity.
  4. Og_

    Og_ Elite Member

    I understand the breathing thing. I have a veiled cham that is very sensitive to dryness.

    Quote "You're in Georgia, I would think you would have the opposite problem of having too much humidity."

    I have no idea why you would think that.
  5. Og_

    Og_ Elite Member

    An excerpt from the book I have " Savannah Monitors" by Mark K. Bayless,
    "White throated, Savannah, and Eyed monitors are from the dry areas of Africa. Fluctuations in humidity can cause skin problems. If a monitor is kept too moist, shed skin can stick to it's body, causing constriction, especially around the toes and ankles. I have seen constriction by shed skin around a young savannah monitors neck too.
    Comfortable humidity levels for the African monitor lizard can be low to moderate; 20-50percent is fine. During the summer months in Africa (September to February ), humidity levels around 50% appear to promote courtship behaviour (Williams, pers. obs.)."

    I would think that just about everyone has watched the nature shows on tv showing the wildlife on the african savannahs. It only rains one season out of the year when the monsoons come. the rest of the year it is bone dry.
  6. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    According to what I've found that is not the most accurate of books. I don't believe the author did any in the field research on Savannahs himself.
    Nonetheless, this is a quote taken from Daniel Bennett and Ravi Thakoordyal's book entitled " The Truth about the Savannah Monitor Lizard"

    Quote"Savannah monitors need more humidity in their environment than they are usually given in captivity and will do very poorly in enclosures that are too dry. Over and over again we read in magazines and books that savannah monitor lizards come from very dry areas of Africa and so should be kept in very dry conditions.
    Completely wrong! The animals are absent from deserts and live in places with seasonal rainfall. Activity is concentrated mainly in the wettest months of the year and the monitors suspend activity when conditions become very dry.
    Animals in a cage will behave the same way and so it is vital that the enclosure provides them with sufficient humidity to behave normally without having to resort to water-saving strategies. Keeping the lizards on a deep substrate that can be sprayed with water is the best way to overcome this problem.
    It does not matter if the surface dries out so long as the lower levels are slightly damp.

    In the Varanus forums this is deemed to be the mainstay for all monitors. A habitat that is sealed on top to hold moisture in. They should not be drying out and rehydrating on a regular basis. They should stay hydrated.
    That book is accurate about it being too moist causing restriction of shed skin. Too dry will do it as well.
  7. Og_

    Og_ Elite Member

    Well, It's good that we have this forum to discuss all this.

    "Over and over again we read in magazines and books that savannah monitor lizards come from very dry areas of Africa and so should be kept in very dry conditions.
    Completely wrong! "

    I think he is refering to those who think savs come from the desert (there are many). I'm no expert and I don't want anyone to think I am but savannahs are semi arid grasslands. They are not "Very" dry.
    In my enclosure my sav's water "bowl" is actually a shallow plastic tub. it provides at least 4 square feet of surface area of water. That and the humidity in the house provides enough water vapor to keep the humidity at about 65%. I couldn't get the humidity down to 20-50% even if I wanted to.
  8. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    I'm no expert either. Discussion does bring thought and if it makes people think and ask questions about their husbandry all the better.
  9. fire2225ems

    fire2225ems Subscribed User Premium Member

    It sounds like you made the right decision but I wanted to point out the fact that there is a BIG difference between dirt and calci-sand. Dirt or soil ingested in small amounts can be passed fine. Calci-sand however, even in small amounts causes problems because of the fact that it is just ground up calcium carbonate which will neutralize the acid in the stomach keeping it from digesting - causing an impaction...

    Like I said, in your case it does sound like you have made the right decision, but also in the future keep in mind that there is a big difference between the sand and dirt.
  10. Og_

    Og_ Elite Member

  11. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    I don't believe it's being printed anymore. So they're charging whatever they feel like. I should try to get more copies where I got mine from. About six months ago it cost me $25.00 I believe.
  12. dagreek514

    dagreek514 New Member

    That book you were saying about the sav book I got that one but he's very keen on telling people that they should be only as display animals. There is another book out there called "Taming your Sav." It's amazing, I bought it and 2 months later I have a trained, tame, sav. Check it out, it's on amazon like it's really amazing. The sav book I find is more about a wild animal instead of a pet sav.
  13. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    I don't share your opinion of the Ravi/Daniel book on Savs.
    There is a lot of info in it about the husbandry care of a captive Sav. It provides information about it in the wild because it is directly related to it's care in captivity.
    There aren't too many 10 yr old Savs around because they are not housed correctly.
  14. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    The key to properly housing an animal in captivity is directly related to how it lives in the wild. That tells you what conditions it needs to survive.
  15. dagreek514

    dagreek514 New Member

    I do not agree with that. Look at how many in the wild die young, look at how many live long in captivity.
  16. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    well, in captivity, the things that change are this:

    You eliminate competition for resources.

    You (most often) eliminate disease and parasites that would weaken/kill an animal

    You eliminate predation.

    That is why captive animals live longer (in most cases).

    They still need an environment like their natural one, because all of their adaptations are designed for living in said environment.
  17. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    dagreek514, I suggest you do some more research on the book and people to which you are referring.
    These people "Dances with Savs" have been slammed from all directions for the cruel and unusual training methods they suggest.
    Holding a lizard underwater until it is basically drowning, so you can pretend to "save" it?
    It is also unrealistic to expect an animal which comes from a specific high temperature environment to survive let alone thrive in human house temperatures.
    If you do the research, both of their monitors were dead in less than 2 years!
    Not exactly the type of example I would put forth as an "expert".
  18. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    Actually this is probably one instance where the reverse is true.
    In captivity wild-caught Savs often die young from inexperienced and misdirected keepers.
    Because they are imported in such high numbers the purchase price is very low. This low price puts a tag on their head that they are a dispensable reptile. Easily purchased again if it doesn't work out the first time.

    That book written by DanceswithSavs or Kaffir2 or whatever they are using these days may have some useful information I don't know. But they are a bunch of crackpots and you can pick one of any of the top varanid researchers in the world and they will confirm that.
  19. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    Sounds like the human gene pool needs some chlorination. If someone did that to me, I'd probably try to kill em. That sickens me.
  20. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    Let's try and keep this on topic. (myself included)
    Any other posts regarding the aforementioned (banned) member will be deleted.
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