This detailed, comprehensive guide on black throat monitor care will teach you about their enclosure, health, diet, behavior, and more!
The Black Throated monitor is a lizard from the Varanidae family. They look like modern-day dinosaurs with their sharp eyes and scaled bodies. Although they are a hefty lizard, they are pretty mild mannered.
They live wild in Central, Eastern and Southern Africa, with only the Nile Monitor being larger in size.
Black Throat Monitor Availability
These guys are not easy to come across and will put a big dent in your wallet. The average cost of a Black Throat is £250/$300 depending on country/region and the age and sex of the lizard.
Black Throated monitors are a serious commitment, capable of living up to 25 years if kept in good conditions and fed a varied diet.
Size: These scaly giants can reach lengths of 7 feet, with females being slightly smaller than males. You are going to need plenty of space if you are planning on bringing one of these fellas home!
Color: As the name suggests, they have a patch of black or dark grey scales along their throat. The rest of their body is a pale grey or dirty cream and they sport various strips, patches and flecks of brown.
Black Throat Monitor Morphs
The Black Throated monitor is considered a morph or variant of the White Throated monitor. They also look similar to rock monitors.
Black Throat Monitor Housing Requirements
Housing for black throat monitor care have some specific requirements in order to mimic their natural habitat.
When it comes to housing, you will need to scale up. With adult lengths of 6 or 7 feet, you will need to ensure that your monitor has plenty of space. For juveniles, a terrarium of at least 20 gallons is necessary, while adults will require a custom-built enclosure a minimum of 6 feet in length and 4ft in width. Plan a little larger in case your monitor grows on the longer side.
Monitors are ectotherms, controlling their body temperature using their environment. In order for them to stay warm, you will need to provide a basking area using a basking lamp. You will also need a cooler area. The hottest area should be around between 50 and 70°C/ 122-158°F, with an ambient temperature of 28-32°C/82-90°F.
You will need a UV bulb to mimic natural sunlight and provide vitamin D. You will need to keep to a regular on/off cycle similar to day and night schedules. A basking bulb will also be required for the warmer area.
Monitors like a humidity of 65-85% which is provided with a combination of misting and appropriate substrate.
The best substrate needs to be one that holds the humidity well but does not have an adverse effect on health. The best options are soil or a soil/sand mix. The substrate needs to be deep enough to allow burrowing.
Plants and Decorations
Due to their enthusiasm for digging, any decorations you plan to include need to be heavy enough that they cannot be moved or you need to fix them down in some way. A sturdy wooden post or climbable ledges are good to include as monitors are very agile climbers.
You will need to regular rake the substrate to remove the waste and any sheddings. The water should also be replaced daily.
Black Throat Monitor – Best Pet Reptile?
Confidence is key when handling monitors but be careful not be too rough. They are large and very strong, capable of giving a nasty bite, whipping with their tail or causng deep cuts from their talons. For the most part, if handled daily, they will be placid and easygoing. Many monitor owners can fix a harness to their lizard and take them for a walk!
Black Throat Monitor Health
Monitors are generally robust animals, however, there are a few things to look out for. As with many reptiles, common ailments are usually caused by incorrect conditions or poor diet.
Common Health Issues: over-feeding is common with monitors and they can quickly gain weight. Be sure to get advice from the breeder or your local reptile store.
Low humidity will cause shedding problems. If your monitor is struggling to shed, give them an extra mist and provide a shallow bath of warm water for them to soak in.
External or internal parasites are also common, so keep an eye on their bodies, particularly between the toes and along the tail. Internal parasites may show as reduced appetite and lethargy.
Healthy Signs: a healthy monitor will be active, digging around in their substrate and basking. They are also eager feeders.
Black Throat Monitor Food & Diet
Monitors are carnivorous, feeding mainly off rodents, birds and eggs in the wild. Captive monitors should be fed a variety of foods including mice, rats, chicks, large roaches and prawns.
Age has an effect on their preferences. Hatchlings tend to favor insects over whole animals, but as they grow, this changes and the mice and rats will be more enticing. Meals should be dusted with calcium powder.
Behavior & Temperament
Gentle giant is a perfect description of the Black Throated monitor. Although they look menacing, once accustomed to human handling, they crave attention and will even play with their humans.
Taming should be slow and carefully managed, but once your monitor is used to human contact, you will even be able to take him for a walk! A stroll around the neighborhood is great enrichment for them and allows them to burn off some of their energy and prevent them destroying your home.
A stressed or grumpy monitor will puff up their body and make loud, hissing noises. If this happens, simply give them some space to relax. They may just want to sleep or bask in peace.
Do you research before committing to a Black Throated monitor. They are capable of living for 20+ years and should not be purchased on a whim.
Provided you can offer a sizable enclosure and plenty of enrichment and attention for black throat monitor care, a monitor is a great pet for an experienced reptile keeper and will quickly become part of the family.