Bosc Monitors ( Varanus exanthematicus )

About the Bosc Monitor.

The Bosc Monitor is native to Africa where it is also known as the Savannah Monitor. It is very popular among monitor owners and can make a great pet when given the proper care and attention. They can grow up to 5ft in length and live up to 12 years. Their natural habitat consists of scrubs and arid grasslands which are subject to hot dry summers.

Bosc Monitors as pets.

Due to their size and needs, Bosc Monitors aren’t a realistic choice for a beginner. Both taming and handling can be a long and complicated task and you will require patience and knowledge to do so. Monitors are usually more active during the day and are great to observe, they also enjoy having things to look at outside of their enclosure and interaction, even just through the glass, is strongly encouraged. If you are thinking of buying a Bosc Monitor you should also plan ahead, these animals get very large and require a lot of space, regular attention and upkeep of their home.

Important: Bosc Monitors have lockjaw and if they bite they can hold on for hours. Also have a bottle of vinegar within reach whenever handling your monitor lizard as a few drops in their mouth will force them to release. In the unfortunate case where you get bitten, you should allow atleast a week before handling again.

How to care for Bosc Monitors.


Due to their potential size, Bosc Monitors will need a large enclosure, the minimum dimensions should be 6ft x 3ft x 2ft. If you could section off part of a room this would be ideal but it is not a necessity. The most preferred substrate for Bosc Monitors is soil, often mixed with sand for improved burrowing. You should avoid substrates such as calci-sand and wood chippings as these can caused impaction and potentially be fatal to your lizard. In order to recreate their natural environment as closely as you can, keep foliage to a minimum, instead opt for logs and flat rocks. These also provide a great place for your monitor to climb and bask. Do not place the rocks directly under the lamp as they could absorb too much heat and burn your Bosc Monitor.


Bosc Monitors are used to the glare and heat of Africa, and will need sufficient heat to digest there food and remain active. You will need a heat mat to provide a to regulate a temperature of between 85 – 95F and a ceramic bulb to offer a basking temperature of 110F. These will need to be controlled via a thermostat which will turn the bulb on and off accordingly to make sure the temperature stays within the specified range. As a result the vivarium should be kept dry and only slightly humid. High humidity can lead to respiratory infections, if prolonged they can even be fatal.


Ultra-violet light is used with many reptiles to supply them with the light required to produce vitamin D3 and in turn digest calcium. However there is much debate on whether Bosc Monitors require UV lighting, what is known is that providing an ultra-violet light source will not harm you monitor lizard and most people include one in their enclosure to be on the safe side.

What do Bosc Monitors eat?

The diet of a Bosc Monitor will change as it matures, hatchlings will feed daily and should only be given insects such as crickets and locusts. A pinky mouse can be introduced to the diet when your monitor is roughly 1ft long, while still ensuring a regular supply of insects for exercise. As it grows it will move on to fuzzy mice and eventually adult mice and rats, however Bosc Monitors are prone to obesity which can cause the liver to enlarge which in turn leads to fatty liver disease. Caution should always be taken not to overfeed and cause damage in the long run, whilst offering insects such as roaches, adult locusts, earthworms, and crickets as much as possible to promote exercise. A hard boiled egg makes a great treat to be offered once a month. Fresh water should be available at all times and changed once a day, like most lizards, Bosc Monitors will defecate in their water a lot and sometimes including a shallow tray filled with water can stop this, as well as provide your monitor a place to soak.

Breeding Bosc Monitors.

Monitors in general are not the easiest reptiles to breed from home, or even captivity in general. For the best source of information I would recommend contacting a professional breeder.

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