Prey Items: Monitor lizards should be fed daily to several times a week. Prey items should be small, such as dusted crickets (gut loaded), mealworms, pinkies, a small amount of dog food, etc. Occasionally you can feed a larger item such as a pre-killed mouse or rat (depending on the size of the monitor). The actual diet for yourn monitor may vary from these recommendations depending on the species. Check with your veterianrian for the proper diet.

Water: Offer your monitor fresh water daily. The bowl should be large enough for the lizard to soak its entire body.

Soaks: Soak your monitor in shallow warm water for 15-20 minutes 2-3 times a week. Use a rubbermaid-type tub with a top. Be sure that the monitor can stand in the water and does not have to swimin order to breathe. Soaking helps maintain hydration and healthy sheds.


Cage: A 30-gallon fish tank with a secure, fine, mesh screen top is a good cage to start with for most young monitor lizards. Depending on the species you will have to buy or have built an appropriate sized enclosure – preferably twice the length or more of the animal.

Lighting: A basking area with an incandescent bulb should be offered on one side of the cage. The temperature under that light, where the monitor will actually sit should reach 92-95 degrees F. You also need to offer a 5.0 UVB fluorescent light over the basking area. This bulb needs to be 7-15 inches from the animal in order to work well. Make sure there is NO glass or plastic between this bulb and your monitor. Lights should be on 12 hours a day, and UVB fluorescent bulbs need to be replaced every 6 months (even if they still work). Right now there are several incandescent bulbs that provide heat and UVB such as, Active UVB bulbs and Zoomed’s halogen UVB bulb.

Heating Pad: An under the tank heating pad or red light bulb may be used to provide extra heat at night, but the cage does need to drop into the lower 80’s to upper 70’s.

Substrate: Use newspaper or a carefresh/cypressmuch mix. Remember that younger animals can easily become dehydrated and depending of the species, other substartes may be appropriate. Check with your veterinarian for the correct substrate for your pet.

Sunlight: Try to expose your monitor to natural sunlight as much as possible during the summer months. DO NOT leave your monitor outside in a glass tank or an enclosed container because it will overheat. Try building an all screen enclosure and make sure part of it is always shaded. Dogs, cats, raccoons, etc. like to eat monitors so DO NOT leave your monitor unattended outside unless you are positive the cage is secure.