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Asian Water Monitor

Varanus salvator
Family: Varanidae
Adult Size: The third longest lizard in the world, attaining maximum lengths of 8½ to 9 feet. Most adults range between 3 and 5 feet in length.

Eastern India and Sri Lanka, eastward through southeast Asia, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Habitat: Tropical forests.
Captive Lifespan: 12 to 20 Years
Care Level: Advanced


Because of their size, water monitors require spacious, well-constructed enclosures. As their name implies, water monitors are semi-aquatic. Captive water monitors should be provided with a container of water large enough to permit soaking along with sturdy branches for climbing and basking.

Captive juvenile water monitors will do well on a diet that consists of fish, frogs and an occasional newborn rodent. As adults, water monitor diets can include more rodents and other small mammals, insects, mollusks and fish.

Water monitors require higher temperatures ranging between 82 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit, with a warmer basking spot (up to about 95 or 97 degrees Fahrenheit). Nighttime temperatures can be lowered to around 70 or 75 degrees Fahrenheit. A thermal gradient is recommended.