Monitor handling help

Discussion in 'Australian Lizards and Monitors' started by Lambbosbread, May 12, 2014.

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  1. Lambbosbread

    Lambbosbread Guest

    Hey there, I was just after some advice in regards to handling of monitors.background info- first monitor,have owned beardies and geckos , she is about 6 months old varanus gouldii and I have had her for about 4 weeks. I haven't attempted to hold her yet I wanted to get her comfortable with we're she is at the moment.i know she won't be like a Bearded dragon that likes being held but I'd like her to be comfy with it or at least tolerate it. Thanks
     
  2. Stevo2

    Stevo2 Well-Known Member

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    IMO the best advice is - don't.

    Consider what's in it for the lizard; nothing - they're not an animal that derives pleasure or comfort from human companionship. They don't even like each other most of the time.....
     
  3. longqi

    longqi Very Well-Known Member

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    Ive seen or experienced bites from anacondas scrubs burmese and retics None of them come close to what a big monitor can do We know a guy here lost nearly all his calf muscle to his pet varanus salvator
     
  4. jeremy_88

    jeremy_88 Active Member

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    I agree that monitors are definitely not the right choice if handling the animal on a regular basis is a must to keep you satisfied with your pet. In saying that I believe it is important to bring your monitor up the right way so that it's not becoming stressed every time you spot clean the enclosure/change water and even just walking past the cage.

    Best way you can do this is to simply leave the monitor a lone. When it comes time to open the enclosure to do a water change or spot clean etc - leave the monitor be, allow it to hide away and only come out if it chooses to (have plenty of hiding places in the enclosure!). Over time the lizard will understand that you are not a threat and will be more inclined to stay out and fear will be overtaken by curiosity. At this stage you will be able to feed your monitor with forceps (never feed by hand).

    Whenever you're interacting with your monitor whether it is cleaning the cage, feeding etc avoid doing any fast movements with your hands. You can then begin letting the monitor get used to your touch and handling. This is best done inside the enclosure to begin with. Moving slowly you can gently touch the lizard with the back of your hand (don't offer a solitary finger it can look like food!) and see how it reacts. Best to approach from a lower perspective instead of right over the top of the little guy as this can be seen as more threatening. Do not attempt this too often if the lizard is running away immediately as you try, its a sign that it needs more time to trust you. Never go and grab/restrain the monitor unless absolutely necessary as this will undo all the work you have been doing to build its trust. Once you get to the stage of being able to hold the animal the reality is it will most likely always be trying to climb away and will not just sit like a bearded dragon. This is the reality and about as good as you will get.

    It is also important to learn how to read your monitors behavior. One thing to notice at feeding time is the pupils of your monitor will contract (become small as it focuses on the food). If it is not feeding time and you notice this then look out! Reading the behavior comes with experience and is why it is best to start with smaller species or juveniles first.

    I have given this quick bit of advice to you in the hopes that it will help you bring up a calm and manageable animal, not as a pet to have sitting on your shoulder. Having a monitor that is calm in this way is absolutely no excuse to become complacent and not respect the animal for what it is. A bite from an adult gouldii is definitely something to be avoided as is with all monitors from about that size (if not smaller) and up unless you enjoy trips to the hospital.

    I have had adult lace monitors that most here would consider calm and docile animals, able to be held - But you would never catch me walking into their enclosure without a broom in hand let a lone have them climbing all over me. I cringe at the amount of new monitor keeper's you see with lacies and other medium to large monitors sitting on their shoulder's inches from their face and the like.

    And this is exactly why! This guy probably had a so called "dog tame" monitor and put himself in a scenario that never would of occurred had the monitor been defensive and less confident with it's owner. The slightest stimuli can set off a normally relaxed animal and you end up with the above scenario

    So yes you can have a monitor that is calm, manageable and able to be held if necessary but beware that complacency with any monitor will eventually come back to bite you...pun intended
     
  5. CrazyNut

    CrazyNut Well-Known Member

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    The only monitor that I would even attempt to "tame" would be a mertens, they tolerate it beter then pretty much any monitor I come arcross. Mine gets handle once a week and he really doesn't mind being in the lounge room. In saying that even though he is a fairly calm and tolerant monitor, he does not represent what others are like and he has very sharp claws and regularly gives me scratches on my arm, so even if you had a mertens it's really bis better to just leave them alone, that goes for all monitors. However by sticking your hand in the enclosure everyday for a minute or so should get your monitor to the point where spot cleaning etc is stress free, or at least close enough.
     
  6. Rogue5861

    Rogue5861 Very Well-Known Member

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    How about a Ridge Tailed Monitor? My 3 all have calmed down and arent as weary of me any more, has taken about 12 months to get them to tolerate being handled for quick inspections. I dont get them out and take them out to the lounge like i do with my beardies, they have a mind of there own and will do what they want.

    The key to taming any animal is being about to read there body language and taking the time, never trust a monitor.


    Rick
     
  7. Lambbosbread

    Lambbosbread Guest

    Wow thanks for this post, it was very helpful and informative. Just a question, you may not know but you seem to know a fair amount. I have spoke to a few Drs In my zoology class and they explained the hypothalamus and what it does,they went on saying how big it is in monitor lizards. They somewhat said that it proves that they do have emotion such as pleasure etc, in point saying they can grow Into liking bein held.no idea if true just sounded interesting and felt it could lead to a good discussion between people.thanks again
     
  8. Dragon_77

    Dragon_77 Guest

    Jeremy_88,
    very well said l myself could not have said it better myself, I agree with what you have said in your post thanks for sharing your knowledge in keeping Monitor Lizards.:)
     
  9. CrazyNut

    CrazyNut Well-Known Member

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    what at you mean what about a ridge tail? You are doing what I suggested which is keeping handling to a minimum and slowly getting them to the point where they are tolerant. I trust my merten's but I still keep my guard up, it only takes a second for an animal to change in attitude. By all means trust your animals but just don't let your guard down.
     
  10. Rogue5861

    Rogue5861 Very Well-Known Member

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    You said mertens are the only monitor you would tame. Ridge Tailed Monitors are probably one of the best that handle out of all the species we have here, very placid creatures. I havent worked with mertens so unsure how well behaved they are.


    Rick
     
  11. CrazyNut

    CrazyNut Well-Known Member

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    Oh sorry thought you meant something else. I personally haven't worked with ridge tails that's why I didn't recommend handling, I have heard that they can be very tolerant and placid monitors but as I said I can't back that up, same with V.gileni. If you think they are a good species to try to handle then I'm not going to argue with that. A lot of the mertensi individuals I have witnessed act like "puppy's" (not the best description but it will do) although I have seen the odd one that is completely psycho and does not even like to being looked at (which is one of the reasons why I didn't just go ahead and say "handle your mertens they love it!").
     
  12. Lambbosbread

    Lambbosbread Guest

    Well I'm not completely sure on that, there hypothalamus is rather big for a reptile.they have done test to see when it lights up as well, including food , sun, basking, and touching behind ears and under throat
     
  13. whyme

    whyme Well-Known Member

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    I have a relatively calm lacey. I open the cage door, which is in the shed, and then walk her out into the yard, up theback steps, and into the house to the shower. She loves it and actively seeks it out. However, I tried once to scratch her under the throat and ended up with a handful of stitches. I had tickled her there before, and behind the ears, but on this day, she obviously didnt want to be touched. The tests you speak of may be true and correct in a certain place, but the biggest point is, monitors are UNPREDICTABLE. Take from it what you will, but be careful with whatever you choose to keep. All monitors are awsome to keep, but also potentionally dangerous.
     
  14. Ramy

    Ramy Active Member

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    No one has mentioned it yet, so I thought I'd mention: GLOVES.

    This should go without saying, but if you are planning on trying to touch/handle a monitor and you don't know how it'll react, I'd wear leather gloves.
     
  15. montysrainbow

    montysrainbow Very Well-Known Member

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    I would be wearing a suit of armour lol
     
  16. JAS101

    JAS101 Very Well-Known Member

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    yeah wheni have to go "hands on" with my big boy I have a nice thick pair of long gloved welding gloves [ big reds ]
     
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