Monitor lizard burns

Discussion in 'Australian Lizards and Monitors' started by Sami-Lochy, Jul 31, 2013.

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  1. Sami-Lochy

    Sami-Lochy Active Member

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    Hey guys,
    A couple of days ago I had to take my ackie to a specialist vet in the Gold Coast. We had a consultation and a fairly routine chat about husbandry ect. When he asked me what temps I keep my enclosure at. I told him I keep the ambient temps above 30 and the basking temps on the basking rocks are around 50 degrees Celsius.
    He thought I was cooking my monitor at these temps and I just told him simply that those were the temps I have been using for years after reading many detailed and reputable husbandry guides. I also know that these little ridge tails can take basking spot temps of up to 70.
    He continued to tell me that there is no where in the wild that is reaches these sort of basking temperatures. And he also said that they would likely burn if they touched a rock at these sort of temperatures.
    I didn't want to say any more as he seem to think I was questioning his knowledge. But I do remember seeing something on here about monitors being very burn resistant and don't burn even when laying on 50 + degree rocks.
    The vet told me that the body temp of goannas should be kept around 40 Celsius. Also he kept referring to the species just using the term goannas. Not sure if other goannas require lower temps than ridge tails and maybe that's why he was confused.
    But he did seem pretty damn sure and even told me that there is alot of rubbish information out there in husbandry guides.
    what do you guys think? I know I'm not cooking my lizard, that is ridiculous but this vet has got me thinking..
    Does any one know What temperatures ranges occur around where these guys come from in the wild(mt Isa, Alice springs ect)
    what sort of basking rock temps are occurring out in the deserts of aus?
     
  2. Rogue5861

    Rogue5861 Very Well-Known Member

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    Ambient temps and surface temps are extremely different, I don't think he gets that. I have had ground temps of 55c+ in Adelaide on a hot summers day.

    My Ridge Tailed Monitors have 2 basking temps and 2 ambient temps. Basking- 50c and 70c (70c on top of a stack). Ambient- ground temps of 25-28 and top of background around 36c. I often see them lounging on the top of the background at 36c and they are back an worth under the basking lamps.

    In comparison to a bearded dragon that needs a basking temp of 38-45c that will lay under it for ages the ridge tails only bask for short periods of time (longer under the 50c then the 70c). If they are under the 70c lamp I will often see them lift they feet because they know it is hot but continue to lay under it until they are warm enough.


    Rick
     
  3. Ramy

    Ramy Active Member

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    I've got a book by John Weigel published in 1998 here that says for ridge tailed monitors "The cage temperature should be kept between 22C and 30C. The temperature at the basking site will of course be substantially higher."

    I think the concept of having a basking site temperature over 45C is a relatively new concept. Also, I think people don't think about how hot rocks can get in the sun. It's well above air temperature, for one thing. If you point an infra-red heat sensor at your roof tiles in summer, you're likely to read a temperature over 40C (especially if you're dumb enough to have black tiles). Also I simply can't see anything wrong with having a hotter basking point, as long as they have plenty of room to move away from the site. If it's too hot, but they can sit nearby and get to the right temperature, then what's the big deal?
     
  4. MathewB

    MathewB Very Well-Known Member

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    If you've ever walked on the road with bare feet in the middle of summer then you've probably realised that surface temps get well over 30c, I've cooked an egg on the road once. It tasted terrible.
     
  5. sd1981

    sd1981 Well-Known Member

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    I don't want to sound like I know better than a tertiary qualified veterinarian, But it seems as though he doesn't understand the difference of a surface temp in a basking zone and the air temps (ambient temps)... It is my understanding that most vets are given only basic training when it comes to reptiles and its a bit of a blanket training for snakes and Lizards. If you took a temp gun out onto the road in summer, you'd get temps of 50-70c regularly, where do you find plenty of reptiles basking??? Middle of the road in summer... They must know what works for them... My surface temps for my lace monitors are 55-60c with an ambient temp of 36c hot end and 32c cool end with a timer and thermostat, which was advised by quite a few Monitor specialists. I would continue with the temps you're running, just remember to have plenty of available fresh water and cool zones for the little tacker to get out of the heat....
     
  6. mummabear

    mummabear Well-Known Member

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    Monitors love it hot and they need to be provided with a hot, hot spot. 50+ is fine. I would suggest to the vet that your monitor is not a bearded dragon.
     
  7. MonitorMayhem

    MonitorMayhem Well-Known Member

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    all my monitors have hot spots 50 plus never had one burn themselves yet
     
  8. saximus

    saximus Almost Legendary

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    I was dubious about having such a hot basking spot when I first got into monitors too because, to be fair, it does sound silly if you don't understand surface vs ambient.
    I started by offering surface temps around 40-45 and then watching what they did. I found that that worked pretty well for the tristis but then not for the Ackies. Then when I got a Lacie he/she seemed to prefer hotter still. So the point about "rubbish information out there in husbandry guides" is not an unreasonable one to make but I think he's missing the fact that a lot of current info comes from experience and it's not just made up from nothing.
    If in doubt, just observe them. You would be surprised how quickly you can work out what your particular animal needs by taking note of where it spends most of its time, whether it is eating as much as you would expect, etc.
    Also, while it might seem harsh, a few breeders have said to me that a monitor will only burn itself once before learning its lesson and because they are quick to react to it, unlike pythons, most burns will be very minor.
     
  9. Bushfire

    Bushfire Well-Known Member

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    It's probably abit late to chip in as the replies to the OP is correct. The only thing I would add and it's very important as I see heaps of monitors out there with burns is that your basking sit (the direct area under light/s) must be bigger enough so that when the monitor basks the whole monitor is being heated and not just a small patch. Depending on the light setup this may mean having more than one light next to each other to heat an area. The general and I do mean general rule I follow is one light for juvies to 35cm, two lights for 35 to 60cm, three lights for 60 to 90cm and so on adding a bulb for every 30cm of total length. Two bulbs in a line, three bulbs in a triangle, and four plus bulbs in a square shape.
     
  10. crocodile_dan

    crocodile_dan Well-Known Member

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    I believe vets are worth their weight in gold when it comes to common well understood pets. I don't believe I am better than most vets but with my background I have been continually frustrated by a lack of understanding of wildlife species, the simple fact is I didn't study veterinary science and they didn't study zoology. There are many things (most) zoology graduates don't know and there are subsequently many things that (most) vet graduates don't know. If I'm dealing with wildlife I only go to a vet now if the treatment requires surgery, prescriptions or examinations unable to be obtained personally (eg X-rays). When it comes to my cat, I have no hesitation to book a vet trip for any scenario.

    There are vets who do specialize in wildlife and they are priceless.
     
  11. lizardwhisperer

    lizardwhisperer Suspended Banned

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    Pretty unlikely that wild monitors or any other reptiles will be moving about above the ground in the hottest part of the day (if the rock / ground temp is 60degC).
     
  12. Rogue5861

    Rogue5861 Very Well-Known Member

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    You need to watch David Attenborough's "Life in Cold Blood". Just because monitors bask in these temperatures doesnt mean they spend all day in the sun, unlike beardies that enjoy less heat for a lot longer. A lot of monitors can burrow, so spend plenty of time under the surface and come out to bask or hunt on these hotter days.

    I know my ridge tailed monitors love to hide in there stack or burrows and come out to hunt or bask, they have to hot spots one at 50-60c and another at 65-75c (they use both).


    Rick
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2013
  13. Tobe404

    Tobe404 Well-Known Member

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    Or "Lizard Kings", I found that to be a pretty good doco on Monitors as well.

    Just to reiterate what Saximus was saying. Monitors are one of (if not the) smartest Reptiles/Lizard species (at least in my opinion, going on what I've seen/researched) so I highly doubt that one will just sit in/on one spot for too long and overheat or burn itself. Lightning would not strike twice in the case of Monitors I wouldn't imagine.

    It could be a sunny day in Winter where the ambient temperature would only be 15 or so... However if the Sun hits a sizable rock and stays there long enough the surface of the Rock could quite easily be double that. Imagine what the surface temp would be on a pile of rocks where the ambient temp is 40-50 degrees.
     
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