Dumeril's Monitors

Housing and Feeding Pet Dumeril's Monitors
Dumeril's Monitor Photo © Wikimedia Commons

You're more likely to see a Dumeril's monitor at your local zoo than in your neighbor's house but they are occasionally kept as pets. The large Dumeril's is popular with experienced reptile owners, especially those who have had other smaller pet monitors or large lizards like iguanas. They are also known for their dramatic color changes from hatchlings to adults.

  • Name: Dumeril's monitor (Varanus dumerilii), White Jungle Monitor, hao-chang-kao in southern Thailand, biawak kudong in Malaysia
  • Size: About 3 to 5 feet long, including tail
  • Lifespan: 10.7 years maximum recorded

Dumeril's Monitor Housing

Considering monitors can grow to be five feet long, they'll need an enclosure that is large enough for them to comfortably move about. Bigger is always better but a cage that is twice the length that they are, or preferably a small bedroom, is recommended.

Custom-built enclosures made of wood and plexiglass can be constructed to fit your needs or a room that is dedicated to your monitor both work to house a Dumeril's monitor. When designing your monitor's home keep in mind that he will need a very warm basking area and high humidity (about 80%). He will also need a hide box and water that he can climb into to defecate. Finally, make sure there are no areas that your monitors can get stuck in since they like to wedge their bodies into place.

Bedding is often aspen shavings, cypress mulch, or a mixture of natural substrates to help hold in moisture but also allow your monitor to bury himself a bit. In addition to the bedding, misting, humidifiers and foggers will all aid in keeping the humidity level at about 80% throughout the day.

Dumeril's Monitor Lighting

Since Dumeril's monitors require very warm environments, you'll need some high powered heat lights to keep your temperatures between 80 and 120 F in the basking area.  At night you can let the enclosure cool to about 75 F. You may need to combine ceramic heat emitters, white heat lights, night heat lights, and employ other methods such as space heaters to get your large enclosure where it should be on the thermometer. If you choose to also provide UVB lighting a mercury vapor bulb is a good option for large enclosures.

Some Dumeril's monitor owners feel UVB lighting is beneficial to their lizards while others see no need for the bulb. There is little research done regarding the necessity of this invisible wavelength but one thing is for certain, it can't hurt. If you choose to provide UVB lighting just make sure you keep it on for a 10 to 12 hour cycle (just like you do with any other white/visible light), change the bulbs every six months (unless it is a mercury vapor bulb), and make sure it is 10 to 12 inches away from where your monitor sits.

Dumeril's Monitor Diet

Feeding a Dumeril's monitor means you better be comfortable feeding a variety of things, including mice, crabs, crickets, roaches, and more. In the wild most Dumeril's primarily eat crabs but many captive Dumeril's live primarily off of mice and rats. It is best to vary the diet while your monitor is still young and encourage the most natural foods available.

Dumeril's are very messy eaters and like to dismember and rip apart their prey, even if it is already dead. To keep the mess down try keeping your monitor's nails trimmed.