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Nile Monitor care...

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  • Nile Monitor care...

    My boyfriend and I have always had reptiles, never lizards though. I have got a bunch of snakes(red tails, large python) and turtles as rescues being on a college campus with people who think they stay cute and little forever. while my boyfriend knows someone who got a Nile as an impulse buy kept him in a 10 gal. tank in a dorm and tried to handle it a couple of times got bite and decided he didn't want it any more. He wanted to just throw it outside to die cause it bit him.
    My boyfriend took it and we know very little but thought it would be better with us than him. I ordered a book off amazon, but until it gets here I want to make sure I'm doing everything correctly. Its body is about 6 inches without including the tail, its in a 55 gal tank( i have a 6x3x2 also if he needs it soon) with sticks to climb on, 2 hides, a large water bowl he loves to lay in(he is covered completely with water but doesn't have to swim), 4 inches of soil that had nothing added to it(top soil). The basking area is 120degrees other side about 80. He has crickets covered in calcium and vitamins in his cage. It's very skinny lots of extra skin. The guy said he was force feeding it mealworms. I have handled it once a day the last 3 days and last night it didn't even try to bit.

    Any help is greatly appreciated thank you

  • #2
    Re: Nile Monitor care...

    although they dont 'need' it like beardies and iggies do, uv light is benificial to monitors, especially poorly ones, try putting a 2 or 5% in for him to bask.


    • #3
      Re: Nile Monitor care...

      Pro Exotics' website has lots of good advice, care guides, and articles.
      Pro Exotics Reptiles, the Nation's finest captive bred Snakes and Monitors, your source for Infrared Thermometer, Temp Gun.

      Here's a care guide that is for Blackthroats and Savannahs but will be fairly applicable to the Nile.

      Pro Exotics Reptiles, the Nation's finest captive bred Snakes and Monitors, your source for Infrared Thermometer, Temp Gun.

      -also applies to Whitethroat and Savannah Monitors
      Check out our Pro Exotics Monitor Pro Pack
      Day temps- 80-85 degrees F with 130F+ elevated basking spot
      Night temps- 72-80 degrees F
      Setup- Husbandry is “typical Monitor” setup. A good diggable, burrowable soil is the best substrate choice, cypress mulch a distant second. We suggest smaller cages for babies, for a better sense of security. A good hot spot/basking spot is extremely important, but so is a proper ambient temperature. Have a Temp Gun handy, and know how to use it. Small, tight hide spots, good sized water dish, soil substrate is kept moderately moistened, moderately high cage humidity.
      Basking Spot- We use wide basking spots to provide temp gradients up to 130°F or more. Elevated basking spots allow us to achieve proper temps using 50 watt Halogen flood bulbs. Proper temp gradients also allow for multiple moisture levels without any problems. We use no UVB or full spectrum lighting at all.
      Daily care- Keep substrate moistened as necessary. It should be moist at depth, but not wet at any level. Spot clean as necessary.
      Feeding- We feed baby and juvie monitors 6 days a week. Four days on feeder insects (roaches are a fave and easy to work with) and two days on thawed rodents. Adults get fed according to need and body weight.
      Notes- Read our entire FAQ for more detailed discussion of MANY husbandry topics that can benefit your setups and animals. Monitor care is quite consistent across the board. You can keep many monitor species using the same basic monitor husbandry theory and strategies. Monitors need a wide temp gradient, proper hydration, and a proven, nutritious diet. Refer to our Water Monitor caresheet and Reptiles Magazine article (available in our caresheet section) for a more detailed account of baby monitor husbandry. 99% of the details in good Water Monitor husbandry apply to Blackthroat husbandry.
      If you have interest in monitors, or if you are a monitor keeper, you MUST get a copy of The Savannah Monitor book by Ravi and Bennett. It has the most complete and up to date monitor info and husbandry in print, and it is a must have for $20. Don't be a dope, get this book!

      FYI, though, here's an interesting answer to why Pro Exotics doesn't sell Nile Monitors. A lot of good information in here and some serious points to consider for yourself:

      A cheap, giant, mean lizard bought by a neophyte keeper with absolutely no clue on how to keep monitors period, much less one of the biggest, meanest lizards you can buy. And people wonder why we get so frustrated with "popular" lizards that are such poor choices (Niles, Iguanas).
      We don't sell Nile monitors because there are much better choices for a large pet lizard, most notably the Ionides and the Water monitor, with the Ionides being the best choice overall.

      As stated in our other FAQ's, whether or not PE sells a half dozen Niles a year is going to have little impact on the hundreds of thousands that are sold, but if we can convince a handful of new keepers to make an informed and intelligent choice in a new monitor, then the effort and frustration are well worth it.

      I will leave the real "Nile comments" to a couple of experts, the first being Daniel Bennett, taken from a post on's Monitor Forum, capturing in just a few words the real meat of the issue:

      "There are few animals less suited to life in captivity than the Nile monitor.... Animal dealers who sell Nile monitors under the pretence that they can be kept as pets are a despicable breed. Generally I don't think they should be kept in captivity, captive bred or not. It's one of the biggest lizards in the world, any idiot with $40 can buy one, but there are very few people prepared the give them the facilities they deserve. Hundreds of thousands of them die in horrible conditions."
      Wow, thanks Daniel.

      Another great Nile post from the Monitor Forum is by "Nessie's Mom", a regular forum member that not only keeps Niles, but breeds them as well, and she also captured the complexities of realistically keeping Niles with her words (and challenging questions):

      "Why do you want to purchase a Nile? Because of the size they get to? Have you done any reading and research on Niles? For your information, for you to grow a large Nile monitor, it takes daily food feedings of 1 - 3 mice (rats later) along with crickets, meal worms, snails, etc.; can you afford to keep up this daily regiment of food?

      Also, you'll need to have adequate heating such as basking spots with temperatures ranging from 85º to 130ºF for maintaining proper growth and digestion. Do you have the proper heat lamps for this to be accomplished?

      Next is the temperament, not temperature, I am talking the attitude Niles are famously known for: being mean-tempered. They will bite (it hurts like a vice grip), whip their tail (feels like a wet towel snap), scratch (have long, sharp claws), and poop (meat is their main diet, so you can just imagine the smell and looks of that). Are you ready to take on that type of treatment, DAILY?

      If you can seriously take on these three criterions (daily feeding expenses, proper heating, and daily temperament treatment), not to mention the large enclosure you'll need to build to accommodate the size of your growing Nile, then you are almost ready to take on Nile raising.

      The part that will make you completely ready is the emotional commitment. Most of us on the forum are reptile lovers from way back and we are dedicated to the survival and safekeeping of these wild reptiles, therefore, we tend to be highly critical of newbies that "want to buy a monitor because they think they are so cool," not realizing that taking on a monitor is a lifelong commitment (we're talking 25 - 50 years). When you get tired of being bitten by your new Nile, are you going to want to get rid of him? When you get frustrated, and you will, with the constant whipping of the tail, if not hiding from you, are you then going to throw in the towel and say the heck with "this monster?" If you find you cannot hold or pet your Nile, like a dog, are you going to discard him and ignore him? Look deep inside your soul and answer these questions truthfully and if you find yourself saying "yes" to any of these commitment questions, then you are NOT ready to take on a monitor, let alone a Nile monitor.
      Please, if anything, do some research first. Read some books on Niles, like Nile Monitors by Robert Faust. It is a complete Pet Owner's Manual in a paperback book that we sell on our site. I also recommend, Monitors, Tegus, and Related Lizards by R. D. & Patricia P. Bartlett, which sells for the same and comes in paperback as well.

      Please, seriously, evaluate your situation here. Are you ready to take on ALL the above? If not, then don't put an innocent wild reptile in your charge, because the outcome would only be more upsetting."
      Once again, very eloquently captured, by a committed Nile keeper.
      Niles are simply not for everyone, in fact, they are appropriate for very few keepers, and experienced keepers at that.

      If you want a large lizard, seriously consider the Ionides, a large monitor that can also be tamed, and has a great personality. If you are after great personality, consider the Ackies. They are small, but terrific to work with, and believe me, the "BIG MONITOR" thing gets old, quickly.
      Best of luck in selecting a great monitor!