Best for Experienced Owners
Activity Level: Low
The Crocodile monitor lizard is one of the largest reptiles commonly sold as pets, and can be found in the rainforests of New Guinea and it‘s neighbouring islands. Due to its large size, intelligence and impressive appearance, the Crocodile monitor lizard is popular among very experienced reptile owners. Crocodile monitor lizard are not suitable for novice reptile owners as they can be dangerous. It is illegal to own a Crocodile monitor lizard in some areas, so potential owners should always check their local bylaws.
Crocodile monitor lizards are the largest and one of the more aggressive species of monitor lizards; however, they are not the most aggressive of pet lizards. With daily handling and gentle socialization, Crocodile monitor lizards can become somewhat sociable and moderately friendly. Without socialization, Crocodile monitor lizards can be shy and timid, and aggressive and territorial. Crocodile monitor lizards are strong, intelligent and dominant; they will test their owners by trying to outsmart them. Crocodile monitor lizards can inflict a very serious wound if they become aggressive so are not lizards that should be taken on lightly; a Crocodile monitor lizard can easily bite off fingers. Crocodile monitor lizards are not appropriate pets for novice reptile owners, nor are they appropriate pets for young children. However, with an experienced owner that takes the time to socialize them properly, they can be excellent pets.
Full grown Crocodile monitor lizards are large and require a large habitat to live in. Crocodile monitor lizards require at least a 80 square foot home to live in; the focus of the enclosure should be more on length and width than on height. When setting up an enclosure for a Crocodile monitor lizard, owners should try to imitate their natural hot and humid rainforest habitat as much as possible. The bottom of the enclosure should be lined with about 4-5 inches of large bark chips, peat most soil, large gravel, or a mixture of soil and large gravel or wood chips. The enclosure should include some large flat rocks and branches for the lizard to bask, climb and sleep on. The enclosure should also include something for the lizard to sleep and hide in and a large water dish. The temperature in the enclosure should be around 90-95 Fahrenheit in the daytime, and about 80 Fahrenheit at night time, and the basking area should be around 100-110 Fahrenheit; the basking light should be used only during the daytime. The aquarium will need a humidity level of 70-80 percent, so owners should mist once or twice a day.
Appearance and Care:
Crocodile monitor lizards are one of the largest lizards sold as pets. When full grown most measure 7-8 feet long from nose to tail tip; however, some large males can reach 12 feet long. Male Crocodile monitor lizards are larger and heavier than females are. Crocodile monitor lizards come in shades of dull yellow or olive green, with either black or grey on their throats. Some individuals have a black markings on their tails.
Monitor lizards enjoy daily baths and require fresh bath water each day; unclean bath water can lead to water-borne parasites. Due to their large size, they will need to be bathed in a children’s pool or the bathtub.
Crocodile monitor lizards are carnivores that eat live food; however, if hungry enough they will eat dead food. Crocodile monitor lizards eat almost anything that will fit in their mouths; they eat rats, small to medium sized reptiles, guinea pig, large rabbits, and even chickens or small turtkeys. Extremely hungry Crocodile monitor lizards may even eat cats, kittens and puppies, and even toy or small sized dogs. Full grown Crocodile monitor lizard have been known to kill medium to large sized dogs when cornered and threatened.
In comparison to many other large reptiles, Crocodile monitor lizards have a moderately long life-span. Their average life span is around 15 years; however, some can live as long as 20 years with exceptional care.