Varanus acanthurus

Varanus World.

Varanus acanthurus.

Common name:  Spiny-tailed monitor / Ackie.

Subgenus:           Odatria.

Described:            1885 Boulenger.

Acanthurus is a medium member of the Odatria genus, and can reach a length up to 60-70cm.


We keep our group of acanthurus in a tall cage with the following measurements, 125x90x135cm ( length X wide X high ). Acanthurus is a active lizard, and will use the entire cage, so we create as much usable surface aea as possible for them. The usable surface is achieved by fake a rockwall and cork tubes.

 The substrate we use is a sandy soil that gets a bit hard when dry, but not too hard, so the females can still dig in it to make a nest for egglaying.

Light / heat.

LED tubes are used as main lights.

UV light is provided by a single UV tube with a reflector.

Basking light is a normal halogen flood bulb.

 The daytime temperature inside the cage is 28-32c.

Basking area should be 48-50c.


Even acanthurus is mainly a insectivore lizard, they are not picky eaters. As main diet we use the following: grasshoppers, dubia and superworms. We do suoolement the diet with chopped day old chicks, chicken heart,snails ( without shell) and even mussels.

Other info.

 Acanthurus is probably the most common beginner monitor. They do make great captives with the correst cage. And are pretty forgiving if the setup is not 100% from the start.

Red ackie female