Savannah / Bosc Monitor aka Varanus exanthematicus – Profile & Photos

The Savannah Monitor is a mid sized Monitor Lizard native to Africa but often seen in captivity. They are not poisonous but are equipped with many sharp teeth, so extreme care must be taken when moving or working with the Savannah Monitor. They are large bodied and fast growing, reaching 2′ in length within the first couple years. Despite having the name Savannah Monitor this species does not thrive in a dry setting. They must have humid rich areas of whatever enclosure you choose to keep them in. They also require a basking spot of 120-130 degrees, a large stone or tile with a pair or trio of 50-75 watt flood lights hung overhead will usually suffice.

The Savannah Monitor also requires fresh water at all times, it is best to give them a large tub they can climb into. They will sometimes use it as a toilet but the water should be changed daily anyway. This gives them the ability to soak helping any loose skin from previous sheds come off.

You’ll want to keep the ambient temperature of the enclosure around 80 degrees on the cool side and 90 degrees on the warmer side. It can drop to around 70 degrees at night but no cooler, if that happens your Monitor may go into hibernation during winter time.

They require large enclosures with a sand/dirt substrate. Do not use wood chips or bark or anything like that, it is best to just use a 50/50 mix of play sand a top soil, pure 100% top soil. They can burrow into this substrate and it helps keep the humidity at proper levels as well. It doesn’t hurt to add a UVA/UVB bulb to the enclosure but many do without it and have no issues they are aware of.

Savannah Monitor Profile

Scientific Name – Varanus exanthematicus

Common Name – Savannah Monitor / Bosc Monitor

Region of Origin – Its range extends throughout sub-Saharan Africa from Senegal east to Sudan and south almost to the Congo River and Rift Valley. They are primarily a ground-dwelling species that shelters in burrows, although they are sometimes found in bushes or low trees.

Size – Up to 3.5′ Maximum, most specimens will be 2.5-3′.

Diet – Roaches, Crickets, Locusts, Super Worms, etc in captivity. They eat mostly arthropods, molluscs, orthopterans, scorpions and amphibians in the wild. You can feed them frozen mice (thawed to room temp) from time to time but they are not best as a staple diet.

Enclosure Size – 4′ x 2′ x 2′ for a grow out enclosure, 8′ x 4′ x 4′ is great for a full grown adult as a life home.

A sub adult Savannah Monitor (approx 2′) sitting on a basking spot.

Savannah Monitor resting in a tub full of dirt/soil mixture.

Savannah Monitor taking a nap. They do that a lot.

You can see a feeding video of a captive Savannah Monitor by clicking here.

You can read about a DIY Savannah Monitor cage by clicking here.

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