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Black-Throated Monitors (Black Throat Monitors)

Black-Throated Monitors as Pets


Black-Throated Monitors (Black Throat Monitors)

A sleeping Black-throated monitor.

Photo © Derrick Coetzee

The Black-throated monitor(Varanus albigularis ionidesi), also referred to as a Black throat monitor, is a large lizard with a typically mild temperment when kept as a pet. These monitors eat whole prey items such as mice, require an extremely large enclosure, and grow to be over 50 lbs.

History of the Black-Throated Monitor

Black-throated monitors (Ionides monitors, Varanus albigularis ionidesi, Varanus albigularis albigularis, Varanus albigularis microstictus, or Cape monitors) are native to an East-African country called Tanzania. Taxonomists have disagreed on species and subspecies, hence the many name variations of the Black-throated monitor. In Tanzania they usually have a warm, tropical climate where it stays over 68 degrees Fahrenheit year-round (except at the higher elevations).

In the wild they are carnivores and eat small reptiles and rodents. They can grow to be over 4 feet in length, and are in the same family of lizards as the Komodo dragon.

Caring for Black-Throated Monitors

These monitor lizards require a large and strong enclosure. Most people end up building a permanent enclosure for their Black-throated out of wood, plexiglass, or other materials. The enclosure must be at the very least, large enough for your monitor to turn around and stretch out. Therefore, if your monitor is 4 feet long from nose to tip of the tail, your enclosure should be, at the extreme minimum, 4 feet long. Ideally, an extra few feet or more should be added to allow your monitor to walk around more in the enclosure.

Black-throated monitors can be walked outside in warm weather on a harness and leash. This is great for your monitor in many ways. Socialization, UVB rays, and exercise are three benefits of taking your monitor to the park, especially if your enclosure isn't as large as you and your monitor would like.

Black-throated monitors are not swimmers but they are arboreal, especially as juveniles. Adults don't climb as much as they do when they are younger, but they are still able to.

Feeding Black-Throated Monitors

Being carnivores, Black-throated monitors eat many rodents and birds in captivity. Mice, rats, and other rodents, as well as young chickens are commonly offered as food. Captive-bred monitors are more likely to eat pre-killed prey while wild-caught monitors may only eat live prey. Insects, such as crickets, mealworms, and cockroaches, can be fed to monitors in addition to rodents and birds.

Black-Throated Monitor Personality

Like all monitors, if not handled regularly, Black-throated monitors can become aggressive and lash out on you with their tails, puff up their body, hiss and even deliver a nasty bite.

Despite their ability to really hurt you, Black-throated monitors are known to be pretty docile and have mild temperments in captivity.

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