Hello! Any other monitor lizard enthusiasts here?


New Member
Jul 21, 2018
Location (City and/or State)
United States
Hi there!

I'm finally posting on a forum after having lurked around for years reading various threads and sources on reptile care. This is my baby ornate monitor, having had him for 4 weeks now. I'm here mainly for input regarding my care for this specimen, with sincere thanks in advance for anyone taking their time to point things out!

He is currently in a 40gal with 5" of moist 60/40 coco coir and sphagnum moss mix to maintain the high humidity needed in a screen top enclosure. I offer a basking platform of around 110-160 degrees F, the temperature varying depending on where he basks, lit by a halogen flood light. There are also humid hides and tunnel systems with extremely high humidity in which he always sleeps, alongside a large water tub. The tunnels are heated by a large heat mat, allowing him to sleep in areas of both high humidity and temperatures reaching 100 degrees F.

For nutrition, there are dozens of crickets, orange headed roaches, and superworms that roam his enclosure 24/7. In addition to that, every day he is offered either pinky mice, chopped fuzzy mice, nightcrawlers, or hornworms, with insects being dusted with Zoo Med's Reptivite with D3.

He was purchased from LLLReptile as a "Nile Monitor," but his markings and tongue coloration told me otherwise. As such, I'm leaning more towards him being Varanus ornatus, and not Varanus niloticus. Any opinions on this?

I've found no traces of worms in his fecal matter, which is always a major concern for any farmed or wild-caught individuals. He has shown no signs of lethargy nor ailments, and has plumped up substantially since I received him. For his personality, he is an exceptional animal. He tolerates my presence after I have asserted that I am not a threat, as handling was rewarded with either a bath or a chance to climb on me for exploration and security. I can freely pet him anywhere or lift him up as I please.

In addition, I also keep a subadult female caiman lizard, adult male bearded dragon, adult male leopard gecko, baby Floridia snapping turtle, and an unsexed adult tokay gecko.

This has been the best community I've come across for reptile care on the internet, so I'm glad I came. Thanks again for any input that is given!

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Pastel Tortie

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Platinum Tortoise Club
Jul 31, 2018
Location (City and/or State)
North Florida
They're beautiful. I can talk bearded dragons with you (18 inch subadult male), but I don't know much about monitor lizards. Fortunately, @Tom does. :)

NorCal tortoise guy

Well-Known Member
Nov 16, 2017
Location (City and/or State)
Northern California
I no longer keep monitors but still love them! and hope to get to keep them again one day. in the past I have kept Savannah, black throat, nile, and argus. Your set up sounds good for now. I would consider a enclosed cage to help with the humidity and start planing a bigger cage now you will needed it before you know it!