Savannah Monitors: The Gentle Giants

23d8a174f418fca50c7c77b7b0e3bb15Varanus exanthematicus, better known as Boc’s monitor or Savannah monitor, is a medium-sized species of lizard native to Africa. 

Everyone knows that dogs are man’s best friend, but what about a dog-sized lizard? Que the savannah monitor! Intelligent, Docile and appealing, the savannah monitor is a crown jewel for the reptile enthusiast and a rewarding pet to tame.

About the Savannah Monitor

Also known as the Bosc’s monitor, the savannah monitor is native to Africa. They thrive in sparse grasslands and desolate areas around Sudan and western Kenya. These stout, long lizards can reach a maximum length of anywhere between 3 1/2 to 5 feet, with females considerably smaller. Savannah monitors have become a popular pet in the trade, due to there docile nature after proper taming and handling.  Savannah monitors are robust, hardy lizards that have relatively simple care requirements. Of course, deciding to house a 3 foot lizard is fairly substantial and it is important to be fully committed and willing to provide a proper environment for your monitor.


First off, no, your monitor cannot live freely in your home like a dog or cat. They require a proper terrarium appropriate for their size, it is important to be able to “monitor” your monitor! However, once they pass their juvenile state, it is perfectly acceptable to take them out of their tank for some free roam exercise with close supervision. For juveniles, an ideal footprint is 36″ x 24″, with a height of 20″. Once your monitor has reached the 16 inch milestone, transfer to an adult size tank with a foot print of at least 6′ x 3′, with a height of 2′. Their enclosure should reflect the conditions of their natural environment. Pisces recommends the following supplies to build your terrarium: zilla-terrarium-liner_1024x1024

  • Glass terrarium
  • Screen top
  • Branches for climbing
  • Plants (live or artificial)
  • Misting bottle
  • Water dish
  • Repti-liner
  • Heat bulb & fixture
  • Fluorescent light & fixture
  • Repashy Calcium plus ICB
  • Crickets
  • Thermometer
  • Hygrometer

Savannah monitors are cold blooded, they will retreat from heat when they need to cool down and find heat when they are to cool.  They should be provided with 12-14 hours of sunlight a day at ~90oF and a basking lamp with an air temperature of ~110oF.


A Savannah’s diet should include crickets, worms, and other forms of protein including feeder fish and hard boiled eggs once they are large enough to handle them.  Babies must be fed multiple times a day until they are about six inches long without the tail. istock-7089431-cricket_wide-876a81eaf54c8927e726c7393ee1dfccc2b593ed-s900-c85 Juveniles should eat six to eight crickets and a salad everyday.  Adults will eat as much food as you give them, but be careful, as Savannah’s are prone to obesity.  Worms can be offered once or twice a week once they are large enough to take them.  Once full size, Savannah’s can have an appropriately sized mouse as a treat up to twice a month.


We here at Pisces Pets carry savannah monitors! They are a seasonal reptile, so we there are times of the year when they may not be available. Please call or send us a message online to inquire our current stock. Alternatively, for an awesome pet experience, visit us in store!