Reptiliana: Ultimate Reptile Resource

Housing the Spiny Tail Monitor (Varanus Acanthurus)
February 22, 2008, 4:11 am
Filed under: Monitors | Tags: , , , , ,

Housing ackies is a relatively simple task when you know what the minimum requirements are. And when I say minimum, I mean the least you can do to assure that your monitor carries out a healthy, happy, stress-free life. To accomplish these minimum requirements, 3 things need to be considered: burrowing, thermoregulation, and overall well being. Let’s start with burrowing.

If given the chance, in captivity as in the wild, your ackie will burrow. So, to allow for this you should plan on providing at least a foot deep layer of substrate. For substrate, a mix of sand and potting soil in a 1:1 ratio works well for most. If kept semi moist, this substrate will allow for your monitor to tunnel easily. If you plan on breeding your ackies, a deep layer of substrate is a must. Read about that here. Burrowing no only helps with breeding/egg laying but it allows the monitor a place to feel secure, and seek refuge when it wants to sleep or be left alone. Now, on to our next housing concern: thermoreulation.

When housing varanus acanthurus, you’ll want to make sure your animal always has a choice of temperatures so it can get as hot, or as cold as it pleases. When you’re considering an enclosure for an ackie, you want to keep this in mind. Provide an enclosure big enough for a heat gradient of 125 to 75. This way your monitor will always be able to choose the right temps.

The issue of “overall well being” deals with cage size, and cage type. Although you can get away with a small cage, why do it? Give your ackies space to run and they’ll use it. Ackies are very intelligent and active lizards, and they’ll spend time chasing each other, exploring, and trying to escape. As for cage type, ackies aren’t necessarily arboreal lizards. If you give them some vertical space, they’ll use it… but a cage with plenty of ground space is much more practical. Also, because of the high temps available in the cage, you want something that will retain moisture so you’re lizards don’t dehydrate. Wire or screen cages are horrible candidates for ackie housing, as are some plywood cages if not sealed properly.