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Want a monitor, but on a budget?

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Posted by: Fabrizio13 at Fri May 4 20:52:41 2012  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by Fabrizio13 ]  
   

Don't worry, there is an alternative. Steppe lizards!

I got one the other day in a trade, not really knowing much of they're habits, and I was astonished at the similarities between them and monitors and tegus, in a 5 inch long package. They're diurnal, active burrowers, aggressive feeders, extremely quick, curious, and they even have little forked tongues!

Mine is very active, behaving much like an ackie does when exploring their cage. Rapid movements, alert, and tongue flicking. In all the care sheets and other papers I've found on them, I didn't know they burrowed, but it seems like that's all mine does when he isn't eating basking or sleeping.

I thought that tegus, heloderms, and varanids were the only lizards with Jacobson's organs (the organ inside the mouth that picks up scent by "tasting" the air), but it appears that steppe lizards possess this too, although I could be wrong.

As far as feeding, they are ravenous little guys. Mine was eating in front of me within a couple of hours after I got him. I've heard they are omnivores, but I haven't feed anything other than insects to him.

Care is as simple as it gets, as their name implies, they come from steppe climates, which in a nutshell gets a tad more rain than a desert, has hot summers and cold winters. Luckily, here in southwest Kansas where I live, I'm in a steppe climate. I'm planning on building an outside cage eventually. 100 degree basking, 70-75 on the cool side with low (less than 40%) humidity. Give them plenty of substrate to burrow like a monitor, and try giving them a tank size of at least 15 gallons or more. I have mine in a 10 gallon and he could defiantly use more space.

If you don't have the money for a monitor, but you just can't live without them (like me), try one of these little guys. Although not completely a varanid, they have some of the attributes that make monitors amazing captives!
-----
Jason


   

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