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Nile Monitor

Varanus niloticus
Family: Varanidae
Adult Size: Nile monitors range between 4 to 5 feet in total length, though some specimens may approach or exceed 7½ feet in length.

Throughout sub-Saharan, eastern and northern Africa.

Habitat: Within its natural range, this semi-aquatic monitor is rarely found far from water.
Captive Lifespan: 12 to 20 Years
Care Level: Advanced


The adult Nile monitor has a reputation for being aggressive and ill-tempered. Captive Nile monitors need large, spacious cages with water containers large enough to allow swimming and soaking. Because Nile monitors are also arboreal, their cages should be furnished with branches or elevated shelves for basking.

In captivity, young Nile monitors will thrive on various insects, small fish and newborn rodents, while adults will live on shellfish, mollusks, fish, chicks and mice (heavily furred mammals should be avoided).

Nile monitors require 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.