THE ENCLOSURE

For a baby Water monitor you will need an enclosure of around 100x50x60cm. This would be good enough for a short period of time, but you must be aware that they grow very fast. Because in 1,5 year they can be sexual mature and over 1 meter. In 6 months they are 60cm+. At this stage you need to move them to a bigger enclosure around 150x80x70cm would be great. They can stay in this enclosure till they are 1 to 1,5 years old. When they reach the age of 1,5 year you should move them to the last and final enclosure of a minimum of 2x1x2/2,5m or 1,5×1,5×2/2,5m. Make sure that if you have a female, the subtrate is at least is 50cm deep. Otherwise you have to provide her with a proper laying box. From the age of 1,5 year (110cm+) females will start laying eggs, even if she has no partner. Without a good place to lay eggs she can die, so this is very important! (Please know that this is our experience with the smallest species of Komaini, they have the same size as Cumungi and Macromaculatus)

 

Water monitors are extremely good swimmers and love to be in the water very often. For a baby monitor I would recommend to just use a bowl they can fit in with their whole body. You must clean this bowl at daily basis. For a sub adult you will need a waterpool where they can fit in with their whole body as well. You can use a water filter or clean the pool ever 2 days by hand. They can make a real mess of the water. For an adult monitor you will need an even bigger pool where they can fit in full body length and more, because they have to move around in the water. An even bigger water filter is recommended. Cleaning a pool this size is lot of work. A very strong and easy to clean water filter will help you keep this animals with much more fun.

 

HEATING AND LIGHT

Water monitors come from areas where it is really hot during the day and night. It’s very important that you keep the air temperature in the enclosure around 28/30 degrees, day and night. The temperature will not cool down much at night where they live. Water monitors need a lot of heat to keep the engine going. If it gets too cold during the day or night they often stop eating and get lethargic. The water you can heat up to 28/30 degrees also.

Under de uv/basking spot it needs to be around 55/60 degrees. You need to make sure that the full body of the Water monitor is fully heated. This is extremely important because of the following reasons;

  1. They need a high body temperature to have d3 synthese.
  2. If it’s too cold they can get fat and will create problems with their joints. Climbing and moving around will be hard and very painful.

Why uv light and what type? A lot of monitor owners believe UV is not necessary. We believe it’s extremely important. UV is not only for there bone structure but also very good for the immune system. We also believe swollen jaws and fingers you see on older water monitors is caused by a short on UV. D3 in animal organs they eat is not enough.

Best is to use Solar raptor, Megaray or Reptech HQI or metal halide bulbs as UV. HQI is the best, because of the heat and power they have. We use 70w flood Solar raptors for our adult water monitors.

A mistake often made is when winter comes and it gets cold outside they do not insulate the enclosure good enough. You have to insulate the enclosure even more if it’s in the basement, garage or the attic (maybe you have placed it against a cold wall or floor) it’s very possible that the temperatures in your enclosure are not that good in the winter. So you must pay attention when seasons change. Somehow monitors always lie down on the cold floor or against a cold wall. Their body gets too cold and they can get very sick or die. So make sure the enclosure is insulated very well and has no cold spots.

 

ENCLOSURE SETUP

Water monitors love to dig underground tunnels. In our enclosures we use sand. In most enclosures this gets too dry. So often it’s better to use a sand/soil mix 1:2 with a topping of leafs. This can look very pretty.

We use many big branches for them to climb up high. Their basking spot is in the top where they feel more save. It also gives a great look when you walk in the room and you see the big water monitor under his UV bulbs on a big branch comfortable and relaxed.

We do not give them places to hide because we experienced it makes them more shy. If you take away their hiding space they have no place to go and they will notice you are not that bad. And in the end it makes them less stressed. You have of course every right to decide this yourself.

 

FOOD

It is important to feed your Water monitor whole pray on a variated diet. In the wild they live near the water or on the beach. The food they find is often; fish, crab, lobster, birds, snakes and sometimes rodents.

We feed whole fish, crab, snakes and rodents, grounded chicken, turkey, pigeon, swan, duck, other birds, deer, horse, cow, kangaroo, rabbit fish and more.

Most monitor keepers don’t use extra minerals and vitamine powders. We do think it’s a positive extra to make a diet compleet. We use miner-all outdoor almost every time we feed and repetitive without d3 every 1 or 2 weeks. Don’t give them both at same time.

For baby monitors you can add insects to their diet. Especially the first 1 or 2 months of their life’s they prefer to eat insects. Later they start to eat more and more pray like mice and grounded prays.

Babies we feed daily, adults 1 or 2 times a week.

 

WILDCAUGHT VS CAPTIVE BRED

Obviously captive bred is much better. We have bought wild caught several times because we had no choice. There where no captive breeds. So when they come in they are often full with ticks. On our first male black water monitor we removed over 200 ticks one by one. It took hours, after that we gave them something for the worms and parasites. The next day the pool was full of long white worms. What you often see is that the parasites or ticks are too much for them and they die. Especially baby water monitors from the wild. They often do not survive. An other problem is they are so extremely afraid. They only want to hide and they bite and scratch you when you pick them up. Or they use their tail to swing at you… and yes that hurts a lot. Most wild caught’s do not tame down at all. If you are very lucky they do.

Baby water monitors at the other hand are parasite, worm and tick free. They grow often faster and bigger and they eat very well. Most of the time they are born tame because biting you is not in their system. They are curious all the time and if you open the enclosure they climb out immediately to your arm or shoulder. They truly are amazing and so easy to care for compare to the wild caught.
If you have the chance to get a captive bred baby (even if it’s more expensive) please do! This will lower the costs of getting care from a veterinarian and will save you a lot of money and problems you do not like.

 

SEXING

This is extremely difficult with Water monitors. When you have a clutch of several babies you can compare brothers and sisters. This way you can see that the (possible) males have bigger and thicker head and the (possible) females have smaller and skinnier head.

When they are older they will pop their hemmi penis/clitoris sometimes.  With males you can see that on the top of the penis there is a brush. With females the “penis” is empty (without a brush or a small brush). The males have a slim straight body and the females a pear shaped body when adult. The female often start to lay eggs by them selfs around 1,5 year or older. With or without male.