Varanus g. griseus
Common name: Desert monitor.
Described: Daudin 1803
This is a species i had the pleasure of keeping and breeding. I'm not currently working with them.
Cage: i kept a group of 2.3 in a cage with the following measures: 450x110x100cm ( long X deep X high ). As substrate they had a sandy soil with small stones mixed into it.
Lights at the time was made out by hqi and t8 tubes. Basking was made by using 2 flood bulbs, to create a large enough basking area. Each bulb was a 50w 220v. Later on when they became available, a 70w solar raptor flood bulb was added at the basking area. That was enough to create a basking temperature at around 50-55c and an air temperature of about 32c.
Lights where on for about 14 hours during summer.
A small water bowl was all they had as option for drinking water as the cage was kept pretty dry during the day.
Every night the cage was misted to create a spike in humidity ( like dew in the desert ).
The cage itself did not have alot of decoration, a few old logs and a cave was all the had ( the cave was also used for nesting).
As food for Varanus griseus i used mice, rats, chick's, chicken heart and grasshoppers. When kept correctly V. griseus has a huge appetite and are very active.
Breeding V. griseus.
This seems to be a struggle for many keepers of these monitors. In reality only a few things seem to be in order for them to breed.
The hibernation is important. I hibernated them from mid December to mid March. Temperatures during hibernation was 14-15c during both day and night. I tried different ways of hibernation, 1. I kept all animals together inside their cage during the whole hibernation period. 2. I separated all the animals from the start of the hibernation until it was finished. Both ways worked, so how you hibernate them is not as important as the temperature.
Once they are out of hibernation, they are hungry. So a few days after they are out of hibernation feeding should begin. They should be offered food 3-4 times a week, and as much as they want to eat.
Shortly after the temperature has been back to normal and the food intake has been good, the males will start to combat. They will rather quickly find out who is the dominant male. The combat is just like we see in Asian water monitors and komodo dragons.
When the female is ready to lay eggs, they will seek out a nesting site that to them is good. It can be an advantage to provide more nesting options with different temperatures and humidity.
Incubation of the eggs are the same as for Australian monitors. The eggs can be incubated in vermiculite mixed with water at a 1:1 ratio by weight. Incubation temperature should be 28-29c.
The babies can be kept in a similar setup as the adults. And they will feed on the same food items.
Calcium and vitamins should be added to both adults and babies when feeding.
Should I keep V. griseus today I would probably do a similar setup since it proved to work when I kept them. I would do different lights since today alot of new types of lights are on the marked. I would provide the cage with some powerful led lights to max out the visual light, and some 14% t5 uv tubes.
A few days old babies.