Black Throated Monitor care guide

Care Guide for Black Throated Monitors: Everything You Need to Know

Black Throated Monitors (Varanus albigularis ionidesi) are impressive reptiles known for their size, intelligence, and striking appearance. Proper care is essential to ensure they thrive in captivity. This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know about caring for a Black Throated Monitor.

Introduction to Black Throated Monitors

Black Throated Monitors are a subspecies of the Savannah Monitor, native to Tanzania. These large lizards can reach lengths of up to 6 feet and weigh over 30 pounds. Their robust build and distinctive black throat make them popular among reptile enthusiasts.

Setting Up the Ideal Habitat

Creating an appropriate habitat is crucial for the health and well-being of your Black Throated Monitor.

Enclosure Size

Black Throated Monitors require spacious enclosures. A minimum size for an adult should be 8 feet long, 4 feet wide, and 4 feet high. Larger is always better to allow them to move around comfortably.


Choose a substrate that retains humidity and allows for digging. Options include a mix of topsoil, sand, and cypress mulch. Ensure it is deep enough (at least 12 inches) for burrowing behaviors.

Temperature and Lighting

Maintaining proper temperature and lighting is vital. Provide a basking spot with temperatures between 100-110°F and an ambient temperature of 80-90°F. Use UVB lighting to ensure they receive adequate Vitamin D3, which is essential for calcium absorption.


Black Throated Monitors require moderate humidity levels. Maintain humidity between 50-70%. Regular misting and a large water dish can help achieve this.

Feeding Your Black Throated Monitor

A balanced diet is key to the health of your monitor.

Diet Composition

Black Throated Monitors are carnivorous. Their diet should include a variety of insects (crickets, roaches, and mealworms), rodents, and occasional eggs. Adult monitors can be fed raw meat such as chicken or turkey, but it should not be the sole diet.

Feeding Schedule

Juveniles should be fed daily, while adults can be fed every other day. Offer food items that are appropriately sized to prevent choking hazards.


Dust insects with calcium and vitamin supplements regularly to prevent nutritional deficiencies. A schedule of 2-3 times per week is generally recommended.

Health and Veterinary Care

Regular health checks and veterinary care are essential.

Common Health Issues

  • Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD): Caused by a lack of calcium or UVB light. Symptoms include lethargy and deformities.
  • Parasites: Internal and external parasites can be common. Regular fecal exams and vet visits are necessary.
  • Respiratory Infections: Often due to incorrect humidity levels. Symptoms include wheezing and nasal discharge.

Finding an Exotic Vet

Ensure you have access to a vet experienced with reptiles. Regular check-ups and prompt treatment of any health issues are crucial.

Handling and Taming

Black Throated Monitors can become quite tame with regular handling.

Initial Handling

Start handling your monitor slowly to build trust. Use gentle, confident movements and avoid sudden gestures.


Spend time near their enclosure and offer food by hand to build a positive association. Regular interaction is key to taming.

Safety Tips

Always handle your monitor with care. Their claws and tails can cause injury if they become startled or defensive.

Enrichment and Mental Stimulation

Enrichment is important for the mental well-being of your monitor.

Environmental Enrichment

Provide a variety of climbing structures, hiding spots, and digging opportunities. Rotate these items regularly to keep the environment stimulating.

Interactive Enrichment

Engage your monitor with toys, puzzles, and feeding challenges. Hiding food around their enclosure can encourage natural foraging behaviors.

Breeding Black Throated Monitors

Breeding Black Throated Monitors can be challenging but rewarding.

  • Breeding Conditions

Ensure both male and female monitors are healthy and of breeding age (around 2-3 years). Increase the feeding frequency and provide a nesting box with a suitable substrate.

  • Egg Incubation

After mating, the female will lay eggs. Incubate the eggs at 85-90°F with high humidity. Eggs typically hatch in 6-7 months.

  • Raising Hatchlings

Hatchlings require smaller enclosures with a similar setup to adults but on a smaller scale. Feed them appropriately sized insects and ensure they have access to UVB lighting and proper temperatures.

Top Mistakes to Avoid

Avoiding common mistakes can improve the quality of care for your monitor.

  • Inadequate Enclosure Size

A too-small enclosure can lead to stress and health problems. Always provide the largest possible space.

  • Poor Diet

An unbalanced diet can lead to nutritional deficiencies and health issues. Ensure a varied diet with appropriate supplements.

  • Lack of UVB Lighting

Without UVB lighting, monitors can develop serious health problems like MBD. Ensure they have access to UVB for 10-12 hours a day.

  • Incorrect Temperature and Humidity

Improper temperature and humidity levels can cause respiratory infections and other health issues. Monitor these parameters regularly.


Caring for a Black Throated Monitor requires dedication and knowledge. By providing a suitable habitat, balanced diet, regular veterinary care, and enrichment, you can ensure your monitor lives a healthy and fulfilling life. With proper care, these fascinating reptiles can thrive and bring years of enjoyment to their owners.


1. What size enclosure does a Black Throated Monitor need?

A Black Throated Monitor requires a spacious enclosure. The minimum recommended size for an adult is 8 feet long, 4 feet wide, and 4 feet high. Larger enclosures are always better to accommodate their size and activity levels.

2. What should I use as a substrate for my Black Throated Monitor?

A suitable substrate should retain humidity and allow for digging. A mix of topsoil, sand, and cypress mulch is ideal. Ensure the substrate is at least 12 inches deep to accommodate burrowing behaviors.

3. What temperature should I maintain in the enclosure?

Provide a basking spot with temperatures between 100-110°F and an ambient temperature of 80-90°F. Proper temperature gradients are essential for thermoregulation.

4. Do Black Throated Monitors need UVB lighting?

Yes, UVB lighting is crucial for Black Throated Monitors. It helps them synthesize Vitamin D3, which is essential for calcium absorption. Ensure they receive UVB exposure for 10-12 hours a day.

5. How often should I feed my Black Throated Monitor?

Juveniles should be fed daily, while adults can be fed every other day. Their diet should include a variety of insects, rodents, and occasional raw meats like chicken or turkey.

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