In a few days, we'll be getting our first monitor; a 7 month old Spencers monitor (Varanus spenceri) YAY :-D We're long term snake keepers, but the care of monitors is new to us.
What sort of meat/foods would be appropriate as a staple diet? We have Repti-Cal but are unsure how much and how often we should add it to the foodstuffs.
All info appreciated :-)
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In a few days, we'll be getting our first monitor; a 7 month old Spencers monitor (Varanus spenceri) YAY :-D

Awesome! I'm jealous. Spencers are neat animals. Just out of curiosity, are you in Australlia, or were you able to obtain the Spencers in the States or Europe?
We're long term snake keepers, but the care of monitors is new to us. What sort of meat/foods would be appropriate as a staple diet? We have Repti-Cal but are unsure how much and how often we should add it to the foodstuffs.

Most mid sized monitors thrive on a diet of mice. No supplements needed, no UV needed, just mice. A mouse is a complete nutritional package. When they are small, you can feed them apropriate sized small mice, as well as crickets, roaches, mealworms, and superworms. If you are feeding a lot of insects, some supplementation would be a good idea, in addition to the Repti-cal, try the Herptivite made by the same company. As adults, most mid sized monitors appreciate a hissing roach every now and then if you want to vary their diet a bit. Earthworms, snails, chicks, and crayfish also make good treats. These treats are not necessary, though, since mice alone will keep it healthy.
Having said that, I will add the caveat that excessive mice in the diet may be unhealthy for savanna monitors, which are a rather specialized monitor. It is just possible that Spencers might also have wierd dietary needs. Since all other mid-sized monitors (with the exception of the wierd fruit eating monitors of the Phillipenes) thrive on mice, I'd go with a mouse diet until you see obvious signs that the diet is not working.
I have web pages dedicated to keeping monitor lizards. Probably the most helpful to you would be
http://pizards.com/hbd/tricks.html
This talks about the methods I use to care for my argus monitors. The same methods also apply with minor modifications to pretty much all the other monitors I have ever kept, so you should be able to use them with your Spencers.Just remember, monitors are about as completely different from a snake as it is possible for a reptile to be (which is odd, when you consider snakes are more closely related to monitors and Gila monsters than to any other lizard). Snakes are low metabolism ambush predators. Monitors are active foragers with an aerobic capacity equivalent to that of a mammal or bird, not a typical reptile, and with a similarly active lifestyle. An adult monitor is agile, athletic, very quick, and amazingly strong for its size, requiring sturdy cage construction, and a very large enclosure.

Their burrows are one of the most important parts of their lives, use real dirt for a substrate that is deep enough to hold a burrow (about 50 cm or 2 feet) and that is capable of holding a burrow and mositure (some dirts just collapse, others turn into a slimy mess). Monitors need lots of heat, much more than a snake, I suggest a basking spot that gets about 50 degrees C/120 degrees F that is large enough that the monitor can fit its entire body into, snout to tail.

Use raidant heat, my best experiences have been with 90 Watt hallogen floodlamps (not spotlamps!). Monitors should be fed more frequently than snakes, a growing young Spencer's monitor should probably be fed every day. As an adult, you can cut this back to once every two days or twice a week.
I hope this helps, and good luck!
Luke
Thanks heaps! We just got more information from you than we managed to find on the entire internet :-)
We're in Australia - are they difficult to find in captivity overseas?
We're in Australia - are they difficult to find in captivity overseas?

Very. Due to the export ban, no Australlian reptiles can legally by taken out of the Island Continent. There were a few pre-ban Spencers around, but for a long time no one really knew how to care for or breed monitors. As far as I know, all Spencer's outside of Australlia have died out. I have heard of one or two still in captivity about five years ago, but I do not know what happened to them. Zoos can have Spencer's on loan from the Australlian government, the Aus. gvmt got into a real hissy fit when one zoo sold some offspring of some Gould's monitors to the public, so we're not likely to see any Spencer's entering the pet trade this way.
Fortunately, my absolute favorite Australlian monitors are being bred in the U.S., sand and Gould's monitors are available, and one dedicated breeder has managed to find about three or four pre-ban lace monitors, put together a breeding colony, and is now producing these awesome varanids, although they currently go for extraordinary high prices. The argus monitors (I think they are called yellow spotted goannas or floodplain goannas in Australlia) also live in New Guinea, and have been available to hobbyists for some time. When New Guinea closed down the export of arguses, there were enough people breeding them to keep the lines going, and they can still be found in reasonable numbers from breeders.
Luke
Well, we picked him up from the airport last night, so I, of course, had to take a couple of pictures to show off. May not be the best quality, but you get that. He's shedding at the moment too. He's the coolest little thing though. Heaps of character.
Well, we picked him up from the airport last night, so I, of course, had to take a couple of ... you get that. He's shedding at the moment too. He's the coolest little thing though. Heaps of character. [/nq]
Awww, he's cute. I've always thought Spencers were one of the monitors with the most "cuteness" to them.
Good luck with this guy!
Luke
He looks innocent and very devilish at the same time. I hope you have a wonderful time with him for years to come. Congratulations!
Well, we picked him up from the airport last night, so I, of course, had to take a couple of ... quality, but you get that. He's shedding at the moment too. He's the coolest little thing though. Heaps of character.

Ooh, what a doll! I'm liking monitors more and more..I don't know if that's a GOOD thing..
)
Cindy
Thanks guys :-)
Took him outside today and got some decent pictures. He's a real little poser.

Bit better than the last we posted :-)
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