varranus storri or bearded dragon?

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jay71258

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hey

thinking of other getting a storrs's monitor or a bearded dragon. what are the similarities and differences in keeping them. Anyone with experience of both?

thanks
 

Tobe404

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There really isn't any similarities between them at all.

They require different living conditions.

Dragons need UVB. Monitors don't. Monitors are more flighty generally. Dragons are usually pretty chill. Dragon basking spot should be around 35-45c. Monitor basking spot should be around 60-70c.

For a beginner I'd get a Dragon first then a Monitor a bit down the track.
 

Sdaji

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Very little in common. I'd personally go for the monitor, they're very interesting, highly intelligent by reptile standards, a lot of fun to watch, etc.

Bearded Dragons are the lizard equivalent of a Cane Toad, but the main benefit is that they're easy to handle and will happily sit on your shoulder etc, while a small monitor is basically a pet to watch not cuddle. For me, if I want cuddles I'll get myself a girl or maybe a dog rather than a reptile, but if you want to physically interact with it, you'll be happier with the dragon.
 

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There really isn't any similarities between them at all.

They require different living conditions.

Dragons need UVB. Monitors don't. Monitors are more flighty generally. Dragons are usually pretty chill. Dragon basking spot should be around 35-45c. Monitor basking spot should be around 60-70c.

For a beginner I'd get a Dragon first then a Monitor a bit down the track.

Hi, using UVB is recommended, especially if the varanid species gets a mainly invert diet, supplements for the most part are pure guesswork, so much better to use either decent UVB bulbs/tubes or natural unfiltered sunlight.
If the monitor gets a mostly vertebrate diet then they can probably maintain their blood serum levels without exposure, having said that, there are other benefits to using UVB so again, I would recommend it.
My partner`s V. storri…. He does receive UVB via a fluorescent tube; an Arcadia HO (high output) 12% UVB fitted with a reflector, he gets a fairly limited amount of vertebrate prey. Note that more "furniture"
has since been added...
 

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E.Shell

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I've had both Bearded Dragons (in the past) and Ackie Monitors (now) and much prefer the monitors for their greater activity level and curiosity.

I find the beardies to be kind of boring most of the time (a benefit in some eyes), and the only one I ever had that wasn't is a hyper-active rescue that hated everyone, especially me. He was an old male, essentially wild and VERY interesting to handle. When I had him out on the floor and called him, he would head bob vigorously and charge me, attacking my shoe. You could look at their usual lethargic nature as a benefit, as posted above, they are inclined to just hang on and lay around, which some people like.

The Ackies I have now are very interesting in that, unless they belly is extremely full or they are chilly, they will be moving around, interactive and doing things. They can be handled once they trust you, and one of my younger adults will jump to me when I open the enclosure door. He looks forward to being out and will climb my arms, go around my shoulders and neck, down the other arm. He cannot be trusted not to launch himself and has jumped from my shoulder to the floor, luckily landing on a two layer area of soft carpet. I am more careful with him since, and keep a hand nearby for when he 'gathers himself' to jump. The others are less trusting, but will still climb across my hands for food and eat from my fingers. The only time I use tweezers anymore is when I feed the larger ones pink mice, which they go crazy for and act like they might take my whole hand in the process (of course, they are way too small to do much besides a row of pinpricks).

I provide my Ackies with dual-tube, reflectorized T5-HO fixtures, length appropriate to the enclosure, with a 6500k 'daylight' tube in combination with a 14% Arcadia UVB tube. I use 14% because my encloures are typically taller than average and the light fixture also sits above 1/4" mesh. I have a small piece of aluminum foil lying on the mesh, under a portion of the light that provides a shaded area, protected from the UV. This combination provides a bright, natural light and a way for the animals to self-regulate their UV exposure without having to leave the basking areas, which are powered by halogen and incandescent floor lights. Because the Ackies live in tropical desert areas and spend time basking in full sun (like Beardies), I have to believe that UVB is needed, but many experienced keepers do not provide it and do well with theirs.

I think the only real disadvantage of monitors is that they really do need much larger quarters than beardies and if you have space or cost issues, the monitors are going to be considerably more involved and expensive to set up properly.

While Beardies of all sizes are somewhat omnivorous, young Beardies should have a greater ratio of insects, while still having the opportunity to eat veggies. Adult Beardies gradually eat fewer insects and more vegetables, and can be easier/cheaper to feed when they get larger.

I am embarrassed to admit how many crickets and roaches my 5 Ackies go through in a week, but suffice it to say that all of the local pet shops know who I am and the staff heads for the cricket bin when I enter the store. I have begun getting crickets freighted to me, and if I buy 1,000 at a time, they are half the price of pet shop crickets, even including the expedited shipping. The downside of having them shipped is that the suppliers tend to send slightly smaller crickets than listed, but that does help them last longer. My sister raises B. dubia and I use quite a few of those, but the size bracket appropriate for both Ackies and Beardies excludes about 75% of the average dubia colony. The fully grown adult dubia are typically too large for either and until they get to be 1/2" or bigger, don't attract the lizard's attention as much.
 

Sdaji

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I've had both Bearded Dragons (in the past) and Ackie Monitors (now) and much prefer the monitors for their greater activity level and curiosity.

I find the beardies to be kind of boring most of the time (a benefit in some eyes), and the only one I ever had that wasn't is a hyper-active rescue that hated everyone, especially me. He was an old male, essentially wild and VERY interesting to handle. When I had him out on the floor and called him, he would head bob vigorously and charge me, attacking my shoe. You could look at their usual lethargic nature as a benefit, as posted above, they are inclined to just hang on and lay around, which some people like.

The Ackies I have now are very interesting in that, unless they belly is extremely full or they are chilly, they will be moving around, interactive and doing things. They can be handled once they trust you, and one of my younger adults will jump to me when I open the enclosure door. He looks forward to being out and will climb my arms, go around my shoulders and neck, down the other arm. He cannot be trusted not to launch himself and has jumped from my shoulder to the floor, luckily landing on a two layer area of soft carpet. I am more careful with him since, and keep a hand nearby for when he 'gathers himself' to jump. The others are less trusting, but will still climb across my hands for food and eat from my fingers. The only time I use tweezers anymore is when I feed the larger ones pink mice, which they go crazy for and act like they might take my whole hand in the process (of course, they are way too small to do much besides a row of pinpricks).

I provide my Ackies with dual-tube, reflectorized T5-HO fixtures, length appropriate to the enclosure, with a 6500k 'daylight' tube in combination with a 14% Arcadia UVB tube. I use 14% because my encloures are typically taller than average and the light fixture also sits above 1/4" mesh. I have a small piece of aluminum foil lying on the mesh, under a portion of the light that provides a shaded area, protected from the UV. This combination provides a bright, natural light and a way for the animals to self-regulate their UV exposure without having to leave the basking areas, which are powered by halogen and incandescent floor lights. Because the Ackies live in tropical desert areas and spend time basking in full sun (like Beardies), I have to believe that UVB is needed, but many experienced keepers do not provide it and do well with theirs.

I think the only real disadvantage of monitors is that they really do need much larger quarters than beardies and if you have space or cost issues, the monitors are going to be considerably more involved and expensive to set up properly.

While Beardies of all sizes are somewhat omnivorous, young Beardies should have a greater ratio of insects, while still having the opportunity to eat veggies. Adult Beardies gradually eat fewer insects and more vegetables, and can be easier/cheaper to feed when they get larger.

I am embarrassed to admit how many crickets and roaches my 5 Ackies go through in a week, but suffice it to say that all of the local pet shops know who I am and the staff heads for the cricket bin when I enter the store. I have begun getting crickets freighted to me, and if I buy 1,000 at a time, they are half the price of pet shop crickets, even including the expedited shipping. The downside of having them shipped is that the suppliers tend to send slightly smaller crickets than listed, but that does help them last longer. My sister raises B. dubia and I use quite a few of those, but the size bracket appropriate for both Ackies and Beardies excludes about 75% of the average dubia colony. The fully grown adult dubia are typically too large for either and until they get to be 1/2" or bigger, don't attract the lizard's attention as much.
I'm not sure why you think ackies/monitors are more expensive to set up than dragons. Storr's Monitors don't need more space than Beardies, and monitors need little more than a very hot spotlight which requires a $5 fitting and a $3 light.

If you spend more than $2 per week on insects or it takes you more than about 20 minutes to go to buy them, you might as well breed your own. Personally I'd just do it for fun anyway. When I was keeping lizards (for about 20 years) I supplied a collection of about a hundred of them with my insect colonies, and to maintain the insects was about 10 minutes of work per week most weeks and about $2 in feed per week. All the insect colonies fit atop one snake cage and produced more than I needed, meaning I sometimes sold the excess to other keepers. I never understood why people don't breed their own insects when it's literally cheaper, easier and faster than travelling to the shop to buying them, even if you ignore the crazy price you pay for them at the shops. The travel cost to the shops alone would be about the same as I'd have spent on my insect colonies which kept a large lizard collection going. The main benefit of having your own insect colonies is that you always have all sizes on hand, rather than having to go to the shop and buy multiple sizes every time you need them.
 

finnbennett

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There really isn't any similarities between them at all.

They require different living conditions.

Dragons need UVB. Monitors don't. Monitors are more flighty generally. Dragons are usually pretty chill. Dragon basking spot should be around 35-45c. Monitor basking spot should be around 60-70c.

For a beginner I'd get a Dragon first then a Monitor a bit down the track.
Monitors almost definitely need UVB and it can be very damaging not to have it
 

Sdaji

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Monitors almost definitely need UVB and it can be very damaging not to have it

So many people have bred so many consecutive generations of monitors of so many species without any UV at all, and kept them to ripe old ages in perfect health.
 

E.Shell

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I'm not sure why you think ackies/monitors are more expensive to set up than dragons. Storr's Monitors don't need more space than Beardies, and monitors need little more than a very hot spotlight which requires a $5 fitting and a $3 light.
Hi Sdaji, I am basing my opinion on the perception that the typical monitor seems to need a greater 'space-to-animal size' ratio, a generous substrate layer to dig and a bit more mental stimulation than the typical bearded dragon. I am comparing the four bearded dragons I kept, which seemed content to eat, bask and head bob, to the five ackies I now have that are forever moving, hunting, digging and exploring. My opinion is that a more stimulating environment is appropriate for monitors, which are held to be significantly more intelligent by every source I can find.

Certainly both can successfully survive similar 'Spartan' conditions in captivity if that is the goal or necessity.

By the way, halogen flood lamps here in the states cost about $7 to $9 USD each, depending on wattage, typically bought in a 2-pack. Incandescent flood lamps are less costly, around $4 to $5 USD each, depending on wattage, bought in a 12-pack.

If you spend more than $2 per week on insects or it takes you more than about 20 minutes to go to buy them, you might as well breed your own. Personally I'd just do it for fun anyway. When I was keeping lizards (for about 20 years) I supplied a collection of about a hundred of them with my insect colonies, and to maintain the insects was about 10 minutes of work per week most weeks and about $2 in feed per week. All the insect colonies fit atop one snake cage and produced more than I needed, meaning I sometimes sold the excess to other keepers. I never understood why people don't breed their own insects when it's literally cheaper, easier and faster than travelling to the shop to buying them, even if you ignore the crazy price you pay for them at the shops. The travel cost to the shops alone would be about the same as I'd have spent on my insect colonies which kept a large lizard collection going. The main benefit of having your own insect colonies is that you always have all sizes on hand, rather than having to go to the shop and buy multiple sizes every time you need them.
Thanks Sdaji, and yes, I agree raising feeder insects really IS the way to go here. With your collection being 20x larger than mine, I can see there is no real choice but to culture your own feeders.

I did have a large breeding colony of B.dubia roaches for several years to feed my bearded dragons, but became increasingly sensitive to them. One might describe my reaction as increasingly 'allergic', with running nose and eyes, sneezing and itching hands after even briefly handling them, that became worse with time. I loved the ease, nutritional value, practicality and economy of raising these dubia as feeders, but ended up giving the colony away. In the meantime, I have read that exposure to B.dubia can cause chronic respiratory issues and I suspect that's where I was headed. My sister still raises them for her animals (with no symptoms) and I still use a few. My mainstay is now crickets, with supplemental feedings of scrambled egg and small amounts of chicken liver and small pieces of well-rinsed shrimp. I have given my largest female a few pink mice after having laid her clutches, to help her get some weight back on, but don't ordinarily use them.

Living in a suburban area between Baltimore, MD and Washington DC, I am literally surrounded by pet shops and have two within 5 miles, almost on my way to work, and another four within 10 miles, so convenience isn't really an issue, but you're right, they ARE expensive to buy.

The local shops here all get around 8 cents each (USD) for large crickets. If I order from Ghann's (mail order cricket breeder in Georgia) and buy 1,000 at a time, I get them for 4 cents each, which includes the cost of expedited shipping. They would be cheaper if I bought more, but adequate storage space vs mortality becomes critical. I dump them in a large, open top tub half filled with egg flats and feed them diced fruit, veggies and laying mash, and pull them as needed.

I have been looking at the methods to raise crickets and will probably end up doing so when I can work out a suitable area to breed them. With baby ackies on the way and an increased need for smaller feeders, I should follow your advice and do this sooner than later.
 

Sdaji

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Hi Sdaji, I am basing my opinion on the perception that the typical monitor seems to need a greater 'space-to-animal size' ratio, a generous substrate layer to dig and a bit more mental stimulation than the typical bearded dragon. I am comparing the four bearded dragons I kept, which seemed content to eat, bask and head bob, to the five ackies I now have that are forever moving, hunting, digging and exploring. My opinion is that a more stimulating environment is appropriate for monitors, which are held to be significantly more intelligent by every source I can find.

Certainly both can successfully survive similar 'Spartan' conditions in captivity if that is the goal or necessity.

By the way, halogen flood lamps here in the states cost about $7 to $9 USD each, depending on wattage, typically bought in a 2-pack. Incandescent flood lamps are less costly, around $4 to $5 USD each, depending on wattage, bought in a 12-pack.


Thanks Sdaji, and yes, I agree raising feeder insects really IS the way to go here. With your collection being 20x larger than mine, I can see there is no real choice but to culture your own feeders.

I did have a large breeding colony of B.dubia roaches for several years to feed my bearded dragons, but became increasingly sensitive to them. One might describe my reaction as increasingly 'allergic', with running nose and eyes, sneezing and itching hands after even briefly handling them, that became worse with time. I loved the ease, nutritional value, practicality and economy of raising these dubia as feeders, but ended up giving the colony away. In the meantime, I have read that exposure to B.dubia can cause chronic respiratory issues and I suspect that's where I was headed. My sister still raises them for her animals (with no symptoms) and I still use a few. My mainstay is now crickets, with supplemental feedings of scrambled egg and small amounts of chicken liver and small pieces of well-rinsed shrimp. I have given my largest female a few pink mice after having laid her clutches, to help her get some weight back on, but don't ordinarily use them.

Living in a suburban area between Baltimore, MD and Washington DC, I am literally surrounded by pet shops and have two within 5 miles, almost on my way to work, and another four within 10 miles, so convenience isn't really an issue, but you're right, they ARE expensive to buy.

The local shops here all get around 8 cents each (USD) for large crickets. If I order from Ghann's (mail order cricket breeder in Georgia) and buy 1,000 at a time, I get them for 4 cents each, which includes the cost of expedited shipping. They would be cheaper if I bought more, but adequate storage space vs mortality becomes critical. I dump them in a large, open top tub half filled with egg flats and feed them diced fruit, veggies and laying mash, and pull them as needed.

I have been looking at the methods to raise crickets and will probably end up doing so when I can work out a suitable area to breed them. With baby ackies on the way and an increased need for smaller feeders, I should follow your advice and do this sooner than later.

I wouldn't really argue with monitors needing more space per lizard size, but Storr's are smaller than Beardies, so I'd say if anything the Storr's would be the one you could keep in something smaller.

I totally agree that they enjoy a stimulating environment and will avidly explore, but sticks and rocks and old bones and stuff are literally free, so I wouldn't call it an expense.

I used a different species of 'roach, but did have a similar reaction to yours, which contributed to me no longer keeping lizards. I definitely plan to keep lizards again though, and will find a way to make it work, and that way definitely won't involve purchasing insects. If I have to I'll breed crickets, but I think there will be an alternative. Soldier fly larvae might become the new staple, or there are plenty of other options. I found that in a tropical climate I didn't get the reaction, and I'll probably be living back in a tropical climate before keeping lizards again, so 'roaches might work out anyway.
 

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You sure bud?
Hi, I`m sure "bud" that almost all varanid species will benefit in some way from UVB exposure , and in terms of the blood serum levels, especially those receiving a mainly invert (or specifically, insect diet). Those that receive a decent % of vertebrates may well be able to maintain their blood serum levels without UVB.
Supplements for the most part are pure guesswork, some of no benefit, some can be easily overdosed, it`s a multi million $ worldwide industry, and of course the manufacturers will try to convince us our monitors need them to remain in good health.
Have you done any testing on your monitors, those that receive no UVB or supplementation, those that receive supplementation but no UVB, and those that receive UVB but no supplementation, If yes, can you show us the results? Obviously the conditions regarding temps, humidity etc, would all be in place in all cases.
Frank Retes (America) was one of the "leading" proponents of "varanids do not require UVB to remain healthy, productive and long lived", he claimed some of his animals averaged 18 to 22 years of age, I take his words with a pinch of salt.
 
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Sdaji

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Have you done any testing on your monitors, those that receive no UVB or supplementation, those that receive supplementation but no UVB, and those that receive UVB but no supplementation, If yes, can you show us the results?
I sure have. I've done it with quite a few species of skinks, geckoes, legless lizards and monitors. I've done it in side by side enclosures which were identical other than UV/no UV. I never measured serum levels, but the health results were day and night. When I was keeping lizards between the late 80s up the the early 00s I had a lot of problems. Back then information was difficult to come by, books didn't mention UV, the internet wasn't a thing (I hadn't even heard of the internet until about 1995 and didn't actually use it until a bit later, and while chatting in reptile groups was one of the very first things I ever did online, UV wasn't being mentioned back then). I started experimenting with UV in the 90s, and it made zero difference. Once I started using supplements, all my MBD problems immediately vanished. I experimented very heavily with supplements and UV for a bit over 10 years. I experimented with extreme dosing on calcium and multivitamin supplements and never had any issues at all, so I'm sceptical about overdosing being an issue (if I couldn't get it to happen even with deliberate extreme doses, it seems an unlikely problem to occur accidentally).

I never ran side by side experiments on dragons, so I won't make any claims there, but after extensive testing for multiple generations and long time periods, I don't for a moment believe any skinks, monitors, geckoes or legless lizards need UV and I'm extremely sceptical about them benefitting from UV if they are getting supplements. I tried at least three different brands of supplements and found no functional differences.

I've spoken to multiple keepers who have found similar results, and all the people saying UV is necessary have always used UV, so have no relevant experience, other than a few I've spoken to who had various MBD etc problems with neither UV nor supplements, then introduced both and had the problems disappear, which obviously based on my experience is consistent with the supplements being the reason and not the UV.

I've also done similar things with turtles, although not for consecutive generations or for the same time period, but again, I've seen plenty of turtles raised on bad diets with and without UV with nasty MBD problems and I've seen them raised with good diets and/or supplements with and without UV with good results.

In all cases, if problems occurred you'd overwhelmingly see it most obviously in growing animals (the younger, smaller and faster growing the more it would be an issue) and in reproductively active females (you'd mostly see it in the babies/eggs). Adult males or any non reproductive adults would be the most resistant. If conditions were good enough for juveniles to grow without obvious issues or for females to have healthy clutches of eggs, I never had any issues with any animals of that species in those conditions.

For the most part I stopped experimenting almost 15 years ago and unless I was to do similar things with dragons I'm not really sure what more I could try other than using natural UV rather than artificial (but that would add various confounding variables anyway, such as radically different temperatures and conditions, and exposure to wild insects etc, altering the diet.

Measuring blood serum levels in a short term study doesn't mean as much to me as seeing animals live long, healthy lives and reproduce successfully. Countless keepers have kept lizards in top health long term with no UV of any kind, and on the topic of monitors, the majority of large scale monitor breeders don't use UV.
 

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I sure have. I've done it with quite a few species of skinks, geckoes, legless lizards and monitors. I've done it in side by side enclosures which were identical other than UV/no UV. I never measured serum levels, but the health results were day and night. When I was keeping lizards between the late 80s up the the early 00s I had a lot of problems. Back then information was difficult to come by, books didn't mention UV, the internet wasn't a thing (I hadn't even heard of the internet until about 1995 and didn't actually use it until a bit later, and while chatting in reptile groups was one of the very first things I ever did online, UV wasn't being mentioned back then). I started experimenting with UV in the 90s, and it made zero difference. Once I started using supplements, all my MBD problems immediately vanished. I experimented very heavily with supplements and UV for a bit over 10 years. I experimented with extreme dosing on calcium and multivitamin supplements and never had any issues at all, so I'm sceptical about overdosing being an issue (if I couldn't get it to happen even with deliberate extreme doses, it seems an unlikely problem to occur accidentally).

Measuring blood serum levels in a short term study doesn't mean as much to me as seeing animals live long, healthy lives and reproduce successfully. Countless keepers have kept lizards in top health long term with no UV of any kind, and on the topic of monitors, the majority of large scale monitor breeders don't use UV. [ENQUOTE]
As I mentioned, the diet and conditions have a major role to play, UVB has benefits other than to help maintain the blood serum levels (that is a proven fact) there are a number of articles that clearly indicate natural/artificial UVB exposure can help in cases where the animals are deficient.
The majority of "breeders" these days often DO use UVB, I think you may be a little outdated in that regard. Again, supplements are mostly guesswork,(although obviousy you can offer some extra calcium to a female at times, or an animal that is deficient) otherwise feed the feeders well.
Did you ever offer supplementary D3, I know many people still do that?
I`m not sure why you or anyone else would deliberately overdose, considering it could have a very detrimental effect on the animal`s life?
So how many varanids did you raise from hatchling to "old age" meaning to at least 15 to 20 years or more?
 
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Sdaji

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As I mentioned, the diet and conditions have a major role to play, UVB has benefits other than to help maintain the blood serum levels (that is a proven fact) there are a number of articles that clearly indicate natural/artificial UVB exposure can help in cases where the animals are deficient.
The majority of "breeders" these days often DO use UVB, I think you may be a little outdated in that regard. Again, supplements are mostly guesswork,(although obviousy you can offer some extra calcium to a female at times, or an animal that is deficient) otherwise feed the feeders well.
Did you ever offer supplementary D3, I know many people still do that?
I`m not sure why you or anyone else would deliberately overdose, considering it could have a very detrimental effect on the animal`s life?
So how many varanids did you raise from hatchling to "old age" meaning to at least 15 to 20 years or more?

I literally said I was supplementing, surely you knew I was including D3 in there? It's probably the second most important nutrient in supplementation, arguably even the single most important.

We don't have a survey or anything to confirm it, but I definitely don't agree with you about the majority of large scale monitor breeders. Without data we'll have to agree to disagree.

Personally, I probably kept dozens of small monitors to around 10-15 years, and only stopped because I stopped keeping them (they continued to do well for years after I sold them, and last I heard were still doing well). If any issues were going to show up they would have shown up while the animals were growing or breeding. Of the hundreds of small monitor eggs I've produced, I've only ever had four infertile eggs, and other than those all were fully calcified. I never had any signs of MBD. If this doesn't convince you that they were absorbing all the calcium they needed, nothing ever will.

Why did I experiment? Because without experimenting we don't learn anything. By deliberately loading them up with as much of the supplements as I could give them, I was able to disprove the garbage spoken by people who fearmonger about such things, but moreso it was to determine for myself what was safe. Worst case scenario I'd have observed some level of problem and immediately stopped, best case scenario I would determine that these things were extremely safe and in the interests of the health of the animals I should or at least could err on the side of heavy supplementation. Having said that, low levels of supplementation also seemed to work very well, which gave me the information that the supplements were very effective. It's a bizarre question to ask why I experimented! Surely the reason for experimentation is obvious, isn't it? I started out keeping lizards in the days where no information about calcium or supplements or UV was available. The only resources I had available were the reptile books at my local library, all of which I read cover to cover many times. Go read a few reptile books published before the mid 90s or so and consider that's all the information I started out with, so experimenting was absolutely essential. But, even today, there's so much absolute nonsense being spewed in the reptile world that first hand experiments are often the only way you'll get genuine answers. Such a high percentage of 'common knowledge' and 'conventional wisdom' in the reptile game is outright incorrect. Someone needs to experiment to get answers, or we'll never get them.
 

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I literally said I was supplementing, surely you knew I was including D3 in there? It's probably the second most important nutrient in supplementation, arguably even the single most important.

We don't have a survey or anything to confirm it, but I definitely don't agree with you about the majority of large scale monitor breeders. Without data we'll have to agree to disagree.

Personally, I probably kept dozens of small monitors to around 10-15 years, and only stopped because I stopped keeping them (they continued to do well for years after I sold them, and last I heard were still doing well). If any issues were going to show up they would have shown up while the animals were growing or breeding. Of the hundreds of small monitor eggs I've produced, I've only ever had four infertile eggs, and other than those all were fully calcified. I never had any signs of MBD. If this doesn't convince you that they were absorbing all the calcium they needed, nothing ever will.

Why did I experiment? Because without experimenting we don't learn anything. By deliberately loading them up with as much of the supplements as I could give them, I was able to disprove the garbage spoken by people who fearmonger about such things, but moreso it was to determine for myself what was safe. Worst case scenario I'd have observed some level of problem and immediately stopped, best case scenario I would determine that these things were extremely safe and in the interests of the health of the animals I should or at least could err on the side of heavy supplementation. Having said that, low levels of supplementation also seemed to work very well, which gave me the information that the supplements were very effective. It's a bizarre question to ask why I experimented! Surely the reason for experimentation is obvious, isn't it? I started out keeping lizards in the days where no information about calcium or supplements or UV was available. The only resources I had available were the reptile books at my local library, all of which I read cover to cover many times. Go read a few reptile books published before the mid 90s or so and consider that's all the information I started out with, so experimenting was absolutely essential. But, even today, there's so much absolute nonsense being spewed in the reptile world that first hand experiments are often the only way you'll get genuine answers. Such a high percentage of 'common knowledge' and 'conventional wisdom' in the reptile game is outright incorrect. Someone needs to experiment to get answers, or we'll never get them.


I deliberately asked about supplementary D3 because it`s now known it has little to no effect on blood serum levels, varanids can absorb/store the substance so it can be overdosed. There are a number of studies on the topic, also one or two on another family/species (Bearded dragons) which shows the same results, it has little to no effect. I`m not sure which "breeders" you`re talking about, I`m talking in many countries outside of Oz who do use real/artificial UVB and report a difference.
It`s not a bizarre question to ask as to why you deliberately overdosed animals, I would think in the 1990`s they came with recommendations as to safe usage? My main concern is that you pass on your methods to complete beginners who will probably start using supplementation as a "bandaid" for less than good husbandry, which in my opinion should include exposure to UVB (real or artificial) I think you need to update your information in this regard.
As I ready mentioned. a varanid species that is fed a mainly invert (insect) diet WILL definitely benefit from UVB in terms of it`s blood serum levels,but there are other benefits, too.
Supplements for the most part ARE guesswork,. Why do so many reptiles have the ability to absorb (and make use) of the UVB through their skin if it`s of no value, surely they would have lost that adaptation long before now!?
It`s nice to have a serious discussion without someone crying "foul, I`m being attacked", so thanks for that!
 
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Sdaji

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I deliberately asked about supplementary D3 because it`s now known it has little to no effect on blood serum levels, varanids can absorb/store the substance so it can be overdosed. There are a number of studies on the topic, also one or two on another family/species (Bearded dragons) which shows the same results, it has little to no effect. I`m not sure which "breeders" you`re talking about, I`m talking in many countries outside of Oz who do use real/artificial UVB and report a difference.
It`s not a bizarre question to ask as to why you deliberately overdosed animals, I would think in the 1990`s they came with recommendations as to safe usage? My main concern is that you pass on your methods to complete beginners who will probably start using supplementation as a "bandaid" for less than good husbandry, which in my opinion should include exposure to UVB (real or artificial) I think you need to update your information in this regard.
As I ready mentioned. a varanid species that is fed a mainly invert (insect) diet WILL definitely benefit from UVB in terms of it`s blood serum levels,but there are other benefits, too.
Supplements for the most part ARE guesswork,. Why do so many reptiles have the ability to absorb (and make use) of the UVB through their skin if it`s of no value, surely they would have lost that adaptation long before now!?
It`s nice to have a serious discussion without someone crying "foul, I`m being attacked", so thanks for that!

Clearly you are arguing from a position of following dogma and you're not basing any of what you're saying about supplements on personal experience or experimentation.

I see and hear the dogma, and I observe that it does not match real world results, which is why I experiment. I do what actually works. It's bizarre that even in this context you would question why I would experiment. The fact that you can't understand why someone would experiment shows why you are stuck in a dogmatic mindset.

You say me sharing my experiences is dangerous despite it being literal accounts of what I have actually done with actual long term keeping and breeding of reptiles. Not a short term study carried out in non hobbyist conditions. To fearmonger about supplements (which I can vouch for after literally decades of use on a total of literally thousands of lizards without a single observed case of toxicity issue even when deliberately dosing very heavily), and imply that UV is the answer (which I have demonstrated to be insufficient in preventing MBD because I spent years struggling with the issue in various lizards with UV not improving it) makes it seem that you are the irresponsible one here.

I am all for people experimenting and doing what works for them. If people can come up with a diet which does not include commercial supplements and does require UV and gives good results, that's wonderful, best of luck to them. But, supplements are the cheapest, easiest and most reliable way to get great health and breeding results out of your lizards, and UV alone will not prevent MBD in lizards on typical insect diets (or any of the diets I tried during several years of experimenting while desperately searching for a solution).

It's interesting what you say about vitamin D3. I haven't done long term testing with supplements which did not include any D3. Since I've never had any issues with it and D-group vitamins are extremely low in toxicity (this is something I have looked into in some depth both as a lizard keeper in the 90s and 00s, and as a biological science student in the early to mid 00s, and a curious individual over the last 18 months due to the Chinese coronavirus issue, everything I read indicates that D-group vitamins are very safe even when taken in doses orders of magnitude larger than required. I've never regularly taken any sort of supplement for myself until I started taking vitamin D mid last year, and I went to the effort of importing it from overseas because outside Australia it is available in concentrations more than an order of magnitude higher than in Australia, and I'd only choose to dose myself on something in an emergency or after significant due diligence. Of course monitors store it, so do humans, but that doesn't mean it's inherently toxic. You could literally consume a whole bottle of vitamin D pills purchased in an Australian pharmacy and it would not harm you. You could literally do that once per week indefinitely and it would not harm you at all, in fact, literally most Australians would benefit from doing so! Of all the micronutrients in the supplements I've given lizards, vitamin D3 does not for a moment rank as a toxicity concern. Excess dietary calcium is not an issue either (I've actually experimented and given reptiles tremendously high doses of calcium (generally in the form of hydroxyapatite) and there are no ill effects. In fact, if you go extreme enough, you don't have any problems, but their faeces will start to resemble the white chalky looking dog faeces which used to be common in the 1980s on every nature strip back when bonemeal was a significant ingredient in tinned dog feed (which actually gave dogs the same form of calcium in extremely high doses).

You asked why reptiles such as monitors have the faculty for making D3 using UV. Same reason we do. It obviously serves a purpose. With a completely natural diet (which very few of us use, especially with small monitors) and full natural UV, I wouldn't bother with supplements. Keeping them indoors on an artificial diet, MBD is often a serious problem. Supplements involve some level of guesswork which is exactly why I heavily experimented. Firstly I checked to see how much was necessary to prevent MBD, which was very little, and secondly I tested to see how high a dose was safe, and I was unable to give enough to cause any problems even if I deliberately tried. Most likely what is happening for the vast majority of the supplemented micronutrients is that the reptile takes what it needs and excretes the rest. The experimentation gave me peace of mind knowing that I didn't have to stress about them getting too much or too little. Now, if you want to talk about guesswork, artificial UV is a real doozy! The output is extremely variable in multiple ways: between different types of light, between different distances from the source, and depending on how long you've been using the UV source. Not to mention that it is impossible to measure how close or far from the light the reptile has been sitting and for how long! It is completely impossible to measure how much UV your reptile gets from an artificial UV source, so, if you want an example of guesswork this is a beauty! In addition to this we know that artificial UV does not come in the same spectrum as natural UV (not that natural UV itself is even constant! It depends on season, weather, etc etc). It is entirely possible to use artificial UV and give the reptile UV burns before any meaningful D3 synthesis has taken place.

Again, I'll say it's strange that you questioned whether or not I used D3 as a supplement, because it is the only significant nutrient produced by UV. So, obviously it is one of if not the first nutrient you would consider using (admittedly, calcium is probably the one most people think of, because they think of increasing the target nutrient rather than the facilitating nutrient). You point out that D3 is stored in the body. This actually highlights beautifully the effectiveness of using D3 supplements! The body can indeed store D3 whether it is obtained via D3 facilitated synthesis or dietary acquisition. Once stored, it performs the same function. If you want to introduce a controlled amount of D3 into the body (which is basically pointless since an excess dose ensures it is sufficient and is not deleterious anyway), supplements are overwhelmingly your best option, because it is far easier to measure and be sure that a dose has been given.

When I was first experimenting back in the 90s, I was really going blind, I didn't understand the theory behind it, I didn't even have access to the theory behind any of it, I just fumbled around looking for what would work. It was actually after I found options which worked that I started learning about the theory, and the theory perfectly fits the observed results/empirical evidence. When you consider that UV is not utilised as it is produced and rather is stored in the body and then used as needed, it makes absolutely perfect sense that supplementation is far more reliable and effective than artificial UV. I probably don't have as much of an urge to experiment now as I did back in the 90s and 00s (largely because I don't have the need), but I would be curious to see if natural UV would bring the significant benefits which supplements do and artificial UV generally doesn't to anywhere near the same extent. If in perfect laboratory conditions artificial UV works well, I'd assume natural UV would too (I'm talking about keeping them in outdoor enclosures, not manually taking them outside for a bit of sunshine once in a while). If I had more time and didn't mind recreating the problem I solved about 15-20 years ago I'd probably do it, but to test it properly I'd need to show that the UV actually was helping, which would require a suffering control group, which I probably wouldn't ever feel inclined to produce.
 

murrindindi

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Clearly you are arguing from a position of following dogma and you're not basing any of what you're saying about supplements on personal experience or experimentation.

I see and hear the dogma, and I observe that it does not match real world results, which is why I experiment. I do what actually works. It's bizarre that even in this context you would question why I would experiment. The fact that you can't understand why someone would experiment shows why you are stuck in a dogmatic mindset.

You say me sharing my experiences is dangerous despite it being literal accounts of what I have actually done with actual long term keeping and breeding of reptiles. Not a short term study carried out in non hobbyist conditions. To fearmonger about supplements (which I can vouch for after literally decades of use on a total of literally thousands of lizards without a single observed case of toxicity issue even when deliberately dosing very heavily), and imply that UV is the answer (which I have demonstrated to be insufficient in preventing MBD because I spent years struggling with the issue in various lizards with UV not improving it) makes it seem that you are the irresponsible one here.

I am all for people experimenting and doing what works for them. If people can come up with a diet which does not include commercial supplements and does require UV and gives good results, that's wonderful, best of luck to them. But, supplements are the cheapest, easiest and most reliable way to get great health and breeding results out of your lizards, and UV alone will not prevent MBD in lizards on typical insect diets (or any of the diets I tried during several years of experimenting while desperately searching for a solution).

It's interesting what you say about vitamin D3. I haven't done long term testing with supplements which did not include any D3. Since I've never had any issues with it and D-group vitamins are extremely low in toxicity (this is something I have looked into in some depth both as a lizard keeper in the 90s and 00s, and as a biological science student in the early to mid 00s, and a curious individual over the last 18 months due to the Chinese coronavirus issue, everything I read indicates that D-group vitamins are very safe even when taken in doses orders of magnitude larger than required. I've never regularly taken any sort of supplement for myself until I started taking vitamin D mid last year, and I went to the effort of importing it from overseas because outside Australia it is available in concentrations more than an order of magnitude higher than in Australia, and I'd only choose to dose myself on something in an emergency or after significant due diligence. Of course monitors store it, so do humans, but that doesn't mean it's inherently toxic. You could literally consume a whole bottle of vitamin D pills purchased in an Australian pharmacy and it would not harm you. You could literally do that once per week indefinitely and it would not harm you at all, in fact, literally most Australians would benefit from doing so! Of all the micronutrients in the supplements I've given lizards, vitamin D3 does not for a moment rank as a toxicity concern. Excess dietary calcium is not an issue either (I've actually experimented and given reptiles tremendously high doses of calcium (generally in the form of hydroxyapatite) and there are no ill effects. In fact, if you go extreme enough, you don't have any problems, but their faeces will start to resemble the white chalky looking dog faeces which used to be common in the 1980s on every nature strip back when bonemeal was a significant ingredient in tinned dog feed (which actually gave dogs the same form of calcium in extremely high doses).

You asked why reptiles such as monitors have the faculty for making D3 using UV. Same reason we do. It obviously serves a purpose. With a completely natural diet (which very few of us use, especially with small monitors) and full natural UV, I wouldn't bother with supplements. Keeping them indoors on an artificial diet, MBD is often a serious problem. Supplements involve some level of guesswork which is exactly why I heavily experimented. Firstly I checked to see how much was necessary to prevent MBD, which was very little, and secondly I tested to see how high a dose was safe, and I was unable to give enough to cause any problems even if I deliberately tried. Most likely what is happening for the vast majority of the supplemented micronutrients is that the reptile takes what it needs and excretes the rest. The experimentation gave me peace of mind knowing that I didn't have to stress about them getting too much or too little. Now, if you want to talk about guesswork, artificial UV is a real doozy! The output is extremely variable in multiple ways: between different types of light, between different distances from the source, and depending on how long you've been using the UV source. Not to mention that it is impossible to measure how close or far from the light the reptile has been sitting and for how long! It is completely impossible to measure how much UV your reptile gets from an artificial UV source, so, if you want an example of guesswork this is a beauty! In addition to this we know that artificial UV does not come in the same spectrum as natural UV (not that natural UV itself is even constant! It depends on season, weather, etc etc). It is entirely possible to use artificial UV and give the reptile UV burns before any meaningful D3 synthesis has taken place.

Again, I'll say it's strange that you questioned whether or not I used D3 as a supplement, because it is the only significant nutrient produced by UV. So, obviously it is one of if not the first nutrient you would consider using (admittedly, calcium is probably the one most people think of, because they think of increasing the target nutrient rather than the facilitating nutrient). You point out that D3 is stored in the body. This actually highlights beautifully the effectiveness of using D3 supplements! The body can indeed store D3 whether it is obtained via D3 facilitated synthesis or dietary acquisition. Once stored, it performs the same function. If you want to introduce a controlled amount of D3 into the body (which is basically pointless since an excess dose ensures it is sufficient and is not deleterious anyway), supplements are overwhelmingly your best option, because it is far easier to measure and be sure that a dose has been given.

When I was first experimenting back in the 90s, I was really going blind, I didn't understand the theory behind it, I didn't even have access to the theory behind any of it, I just fumbled around looking for what would work. It was actually after I found options which worked that I started learning about the theory, and the theory perfectly fits the observed results/empirical evidence. When you consider that UV is not utilised as it is produced and rather is stored in the body and then used as needed, it makes absolutely perfect sense that supplementation is far more reliable and effective than artificial UV. I probably don't have as much of an urge to experiment now as I did back in the 90s and 00s (largely because I don't have the need), but I would be curious to see if natural UV would bring the significant benefits which supplements do and artificial UV generally doesn't to anywhere near the same extent. If in perfect laboratory conditions artificial UV works well, I'd assume natural UV would too (I'm talking about keeping them in outdoor enclosures, not manually taking them outside for a bit of sunshine once in a while). If I had more time and didn't mind recreating the problem I solved about 15-20 years ago I'd probably do it, but to test it properly I'd need to show that the UV actually was helping, which would require a suffering control group, which I probably wouldn't ever feel inclined to produce.
Ok , first of all I was NOT arguing with anyone, YOU on the other hand having all the answers without a shred of evidence of your "achievements" (breeding more monitors than all the rest of the big "breeders" put together) have literally shown NOTHING.
Your page long response to quite a SIMPLE question regarding the use of supplementaryr D3, which has been shown to be virtually useless, indicates you are FAR behind the times in terms of information in that regard. You contradict yourself so much, first you say when the animal/s showed signs of overdosing you stopped /reduced the supplementation, now you claim no animal EVER showed signs of overdosing!?
Your suggestion that UVB is of no benefit to varanids (or Bearded dragons?) shows how outdated your "advise" is, and the fact they can absorb the substance has NOTHING to do with it`s effectiveness!?
If the OP responds again I will put links up to the studies and results regarding UVB exposure (real or artificial) plus it`s effectiveness..
Your "know it all" responses remind me somewhat of Frank Retes, meaning talk loud and long, spout as much nonsense as possible, someone is bound to agree..
Again, you need to update your advise in the issues I`ve mentioned, and yes, it IS potentially "dangerous" (to the animal/s) to encourage complete beginners to experiment with supplements and disregard the evidence we now have at our disposal in that regard.
Last time; supplementary D3 has little to no effect on the blood serum levels in varanids and Bearded dragons (those species being what the OP was asking about).
Finally: you are also incorrect to suggest I have no experience using supplementation, and neither do I need to follow the dogma, I`m an experienced and knowledgeable long term keeper, varanids in particular....
Let us all see some of your monitors...
All raised from hatchling, age ranges between 3 to 14 years, all THRIVING....
[automerge]1628363266[/automerge]
A few more (different animal and species)
[automerge]1628363423[/automerge]
And another species..
[automerge]1628363715[/automerge]
6 and 11 years old, V. s. macromaculatus.. I have 2 males, obviously kept separately. V. ornatus (niloticus) was 14 years old in those pics, V. exanthematicus 5years old. I kept mertensi, varius and gouldii back home (Oz).
 

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Sdaji

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Ok , first of all I was NOT arguing with anyone, YOU on the other hand having all the answers without a shred of evidence of your "achievements" (breeding more monitors than all the rest of the big "breeders" put together) have literally shown NOTHING.
Your page long response to quite a SIMPLE question regarding the use of supplementaryr D3, which has been shown to be virtually useless, indicates you are FAR behind the times in terms of information in that regard. You contradict yourself so much, first you say when the animal/s showed signs of overdosing you stopped /reduced the supplementation, now you claim no animal EVER showed signs of overdosing!?

Okay, I'm not sure why you woke up so early in the morning to get angry about things I never said, but take a breath and let's put your mind at rest.

I've certainly never said that I have produced more monitors than everyone else put together. I never said that I had any signs of overdosing. I said that if I ever had such an issue I would have immediately stopped. This never happened. I never contradicted myself.

Your suggestion that UVB is of no benefit to varanids (or Bearded dragons?) shows how outdated your "advise" is, and the fact they can absorb the substance has NOTHING to do with it`s effectiveness!?

I didn't say that UV is never of any benefit. You're creating a strawman and getting angry about your own creation. I actually pointed out that I never did any experiments with dragons (which obviously includes Bearded Dragons). I suspect the results would be similar but I can't say because I haven't done it.

If the OP responds again I will put links up to the studies and results regarding UVB exposure (real or artificial) plus it`s effectiveness..
Your "know it all" responses remind me somewhat of Frank Retes, meaning talk loud and long, spout as much nonsense as possible, someone is bound to agree..

I don't know everything, I just know what I know, and when two different claims are mutually exclusive, I'll always go with empirical evidence over theory.

Again, you need to update your advise in the issues I`ve mentioned, and yes, it IS potentially "dangerous" (to the animal/s) to encourage complete beginners to experiment with supplements and disregard the evidence we now have at our disposal in that regard.

I wasn't encouraging beginners to experiment. I said that in the 90s and 00s I experimented out of necessity because I was having bad issues, there was no available information, and experimentation was my only option. All keepers back then were pioneers. I generally admire people who experiment as long as they do it within reason, but I don't recommend complete beginners to experiment with anything extreme. Again, you're attacking your own strawman here.

Last time; supplementary D3 has little to no effect on the blood serum levels in varanids and Bearded dragons (those species being what the OP was asking about).

This may be the case. If so I'm somewhat surprised, but as I have already spelled out, I have never experimented in a way which would demonstrate this specific point one way or the other. Short term laboratory studies looking at serum levels would not show it meaningfully either. To test this you would need to raise the animals from eggs with and without supplemental D3 without UV with a D3 deficient diet, and you'd need to do it long term. As you say, D3 is stored in the body, so you can't just go and grab monitors which already have stored D3 and expect to see a difference when you give them D3, especially if they are able to get it from other sources. I am not making a specific claim either way, but I'm not sure if appropriate studies have been done. If such a study has been done formally and published I would be very interested in reading it and would appreciate a link to it. I've only seen flawed studies.

Finally: you are also incorrect to suggest I have no experience using supplementation, and neither do I need to follow the dogma, I`m an experienced and knowledgeable long term keeper, varanids in particular....
Let us all see some of your monitors...
All raised from hatchling, age ranges between 3 to 14 years, all THRIVING....
[automerge]1628363266[/automerge]
A few more (different animal and species)
[automerge]1628363423[/automerge]
And another species..
[automerge]1628363715[/automerge]
6 and 11 years old, V. s. macromaculatus.. I have 2 males, obviously kept separately. V. ornatus (niloticus) was 14 years old in those pics, V. exanthematicus 5years old. I kept mertensi, varius and gouldii back home (Oz).

Nice monitors. Pictures of monitors all kept under UV do not show that they need or benefit from UV. You can't demonstrate that anything is needed without showing that something suffered from lack of it.

I haven't kept any for years now, but back when I was breeding them I used to sell them in good quantities, sometimes I'd advertise on this very site, and I wrote husbandry articles on them. The first time I bred monitors (it was Varanus gilleni) several people begged me to come and take pictures of the hatchlings because at the time it was considered a huge achievement. I wrote articles about breeding small monitors for herp magazines, and amusingly, the VHS asked me for a care sheet which around 20 years later is still passed around a lot (honestly if I knew it was still going to be passed around and I'd be hearing about it decades later I'd have spent more than 30 minutes on it!). I wasn't surprised it was popular at the time but am surprised they want to keep it there at all now.

I hope the rest of your day puts you in a better mood than you were in at 5AM this Sunday (or whatever time it was if you're in a different time zone).
 
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