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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone! Proud owner of a Yellow Ackie. About 4 years old now.
Due to unfortunate personal circumstances, I had to leave the UK in early December, and couldn't bring my dear lizard with me.
I had to leave him with someone, and didn't get my Monitor back until
the beginning of February. He received practically no handling for
three months, and then was put on a roughly ten hour flight.
I've had him back for twenty days now.
Before I left the UK he was tame as could be. Would scratch at the glass every morning, requesting to climb up your arm and perch on you. Generally enjoyed being handled.

After I got back him back, I left him alone for three days, before attempting feeding. I gave him two superworms, which he proceeded to vomit about an hour later. I assume this was due to extreme stress and temperature changes on the flight.I waited another week before resuming feeding. Thankfully he starting taking crickets just fine. He still has his appetite, and has been eating on a regular biweekly schedule.

Handling has become difficult though. He runs into his hole at the sight of any hand not holding a tong. And he no longer scratches at the glass like he used to every single day.
Does anyone have advice on alleviating stress in reptiles, and re-taming them?

In addition, when he was without me he was fed a diet solely consisting of super worms, and has put on a bit of weight. For the last couple weeks i've been feeding him gutloaded crickets, as they have a significantly lower fat content. Any advice on other feeders to help get him healthy?

Thanks for any advice.
 

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De=Stressing takes time, best way I know of is to cover the viv with a sheet and literally leave it alone for a few days/week.
That also wont hurt if its got weight to lose either (wouldnt suggest it if it was skinny/underfed).


Other than that, you will need to rebuild trust for handling, months apart with little handling and it will have got used to that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Enclosure is 4'Wide 2'Deep and 3'High
about 10 inches of substrate.
surface temp of basking rock is 114
surface temp of upper basking area is 147
regular surface temp is 82
ambient/air temp is 86
humidity is 80%
tube bulb is Arcadia 12% UVB T5 HO.
Basking bulb is an Exoterra 150W spot lamp.

Tried interacting with him today, but his posture seemed defensive, so
I didn't go any further
https://drive.google.com/file/d/13GRAZl47I1oOgtwoMeEFopz_jVqqPsSv/view?usp=sharing

 

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I don`t have much time because it`s late over here, but I will respond further on Saturday 23rd feb..
For now I`d like to ask how you`re measuring the air temps and humidity range, and what the coolest ambient temp is above ground? Also, do you have any full body photos of the monitor (without force handling) and has it been "overweight" in the past? I ask because if yes it`s possible you have a female in which case she would have become gravid at regular intervals.
What distance in inches cm is the UVB tube from the surface of the animal when it basks, and the same for the 150w heat bulb (I`m a little surprised you need that amount of wattage in a relatively small enclosure and living in Florida)!? More to come later...
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks so much for the help.
I don't have much measuring equipment available, but i have something
similiar to this, which is what i used to measure the humidity and air temp.
I took those measurements on the cooler side of the tank this morning, which was 86 degrees and 80 percent humidity. for the surface temps i used a standard laser thermometer gun. (I'm also surprised by the amount of wattage we ended up needing. I suppose it is still winter, and the enclosure ended up being in a relatively cooler part of our house.)

here are the distances relative to the surface.

This photo was taken sometime in the last three months

and this is the best photo i've been able to get since she has arrived here.
She has sometimes appeared obese to me in the past, but I never thought much of it. I always assumed it was due to dietary reasons. Superworms where what was always widely available, so her diet for large periods of time mainly consisted of solely worms. sometimes supplemented with dubias, locusts, or crickets. I've had trouble sexing her (tried the flashlight method, but i don't think I had a lightsource with a high enough power to know definitively), but she has always been kept alone, not with a male. A monitor can't become gravid on it's own, right? :hmm:
 

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Thanks so much for the help.
I don't have much measuring equipment available, but i have something
similiar to this, which is what i used to measure the humidity and air temp.
I took those measurements on the cooler side of the tank this morning, which was 86 degrees and 80 percent humidity. for the surface temps i used a standard laser thermometer gun. (I'm also surprised by the amount of wattage we ended up needing. I suppose it is still winter, and the enclosure ended up being in a relatively cooler part of our house.)
here are the distances relative to the surface.
This photo was taken sometime in the last three months
image
and this is the best photo i've been able to get since she has arrived here.
She has sometimes appeared obese to me in the past, but I never thought much of it. I always assumed it was due to dietary reasons. Superworms where what was always widely available, so her diet for large periods of time mainly consisted of solely worms. sometimes supplemented with dubias, locusts, or crickets. I've had trouble sexing her (tried the flashlight method, but i don't think I had a lightsource with a high enough power to know definitively), but she has always been kept alone, not with a male. A monitor can't become gravid on it's own, right? :hmm:

I`ll be back online later today (Saturday) but for now I`ll make a few suggestions; you basically need to know two temps, the lowest abient in the coolest parts @ around 24c (75f) then the surface of the basking object @ between approx. 50 to 65c (120 to 160f) so in fact the basking temps you offer are o.k, the ambient is much too warm, you can replace the 150w and try a lower wattage halogen flood beam bulb @ either par 30 or par 38, I`m tentatively suggesting trying 2 x 50w, place them a few cm apart hanging loosely, then adjust distance of bulb/s basking object until you achieve the above range of surface temps. I think you can get them from either Lowes or Walmart (very cheap but very effective) and they can also be fitted with a dimmer switch if you prefer (you MUST use ceramic bulb fixtures).
The monitor looks decidedly overweight (looking at the back legs) so you need to address that issue, cut back on food, the most important consideration is to always feed an amount of energy in direct relation to that used, normally in captivity they get a minimal amount of excercise. Roaches are excellent, I don`t think you can get locusts (good prey) legally where you are, or am I mistaken? You do need to offer some variety, and always make sure the feeders are well fed rather than relying on supplements, which for the most part are pure guesswork.
The T5 12% tube is much too close, it needs to be a minimum of 30cm (12 inches) from tube surface to closest surface of the animal.
I think with a few adjustments to husbandry you can offer the monitor a decent life.
Although it hasn`t yet been confirmed with this species it`s fairly likely that they can reproduce asexually (parthenogenetically) in which case all the offspring would be male.
I cannot offer suggestions on gender from the pics you`ve shown, but we need to bear in mind that there`s a 50% chance it may be female, if it is then you need to provide suitable nesting at all times (more on that later). Females will become gravid at very regular intervals without ever being with a male and as mentioned they can even produce fertile eggs.. This species can go from egg to egg within 6 months, that`s why it`s so important to try and determine gender particularly if it`s female, because they can reach sexual maturity so quickly when properly supported (why suitable nesting should be provided at all times, even from the juvenile stage) males are "easier" in that sense..
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Alright, I'll look into changing her bulb situation in that case, so I can get the ambient temperature lower, while trying to maintain roughly the same basking temps. I have noticed that she avoids her upper basking area, where it is too close to the T5.

She has been getting minimal activity, especially lately. So I suppose I should feed her once to twice a week to help her lose weight? I'm never sure how much to feed her because she is opportunistic, and would just keep eating if I kept feeding her. I usually feed her three times a week, in serving sizes of 5 crickets, or alternatively 3 adult dubias. (Before she was moved, I would feed her every other day, in similar serving sizes. usually around 5 superworms. and in addition kept a supply of locusts in the tank for her to hunt)
And yes, the purchase of locusts is illegal here, i've looked into it. I could capture wild grasshoppers and breed them, But I'd be worried about parasites.

I think I recall hearing about cases of some monitors being parthenogenetic.
Any advice on attempting to properly sex her? And what sort of adjustments would I need to make to provide suitable nesting? The enclosure has about 10 inches of substrate. a sand soil mix. roughly 20% sand, with moss and leaf litter in the upper portion of the soil.
 

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Alright, I'll look into changing her bulb situation in that case, so I can get the ambient temperature lower, while trying to maintain roughly the same basking temps. I have noticed that she avoids her upper basking area, where it is too close to the T5.

She has been getting minimal activity, especially lately. So I suppose I should feed her once to twice a week to help her lose weight? I'm never sure how much to feed her because she is opportunistic, and would just keep eating if I kept feeding her. I usually feed her two to three times a week, in serving sizes of 5 crickets, or alternatively 3 adult dubias. Yes, the purchase of locusts is illegal here, i've looked into it. I could capture wild grasshoppers and breed them, But I'd be worried about parasites.

I think I recall hearing about cases of some monitors being parthenogenetic.
Any advice on attempting to properly sex her? And what sort of adjustments would I need to make to provide suitable nesting? The enclosure has about 10 inches of substrate. a sand soil mix. roughly 20% sand, with moss and leaf litter in the upper portion of the soil.
I`m here for 10mins but back in an hour or so.. Getting the halogen flood beams is urgent (today if possible) as is moving the UVB tube higher (or obviously you can lower the basking object).
I need to see pics of the vent area from below, but I`m not asking you to force handle at all at this time, you might also get a pic of the head from above, although we have nothing to compare it might still be apparent to me (no promises)!
You need to check the substrate temps from the bottom (enclosure floor) to midway up or so, the temps need to be between the mid 70`s F at the base to the mid 80`s F higher up (the surface will obviously be higher, especially around the basking area). If we can guess at gender and this is a male those temps are not as important other than the lowest shouldn't go much under 75f (nearer the floor).. Back later. Edit: It`s likely that all varanid species can produce asexually....
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Sorry for the late response. Starter broke on my truck, so I've had trouble getting around. Went to walmart today, but they didn't have any sort of heat producing bulbs, only colored leds. I'll try going to the local pet shop tomorrow if I can, and pick up a 50 or 100w halogen bulb to replace my 150. I noticed my thermometer was acting glitchy and giving inaccurate readings today, So I purchased a new one, and placed it on the cool side of the tank. It's actually reading 90f right now.

The basking spot is attached to the wall so lowering it is an impossibility. To move the tube bulb I'll have to cut a hole in the top of the cage and place some wire mesh for it to sit upon.

How exactly would i measure the temperature of the soil? Would something like a meat thermometer suffice?

Thanks again for informing me to this issue. I never took into consideration the ambient temperature being too high until you notified me.
 

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Sorry for the late response. Starter broke on my truck, so I've had trouble getting around. Went to walmart today, but they didn't have any sort of heat producing bulbs, only colored leds. I'll try going to the local pet shop tomorrow if I can, and pick up a 50 or 100w halogen bulb to replace my 150. I noticed my thermometer was acting glitchy and giving inaccurate readings today, So I purchased a new one, and placed it on the cool side of the tank. It's actually reading 90f right now.

The basking spot is attached to the wall so lowering it is an impossibility. To move the tube bulb I'll have to cut a hole in the top of the cage and place some wire mesh for it to sit upon.

How exactly would i measure the temperature of the soil? Would something like a meat thermometer suffice?

Thanks again for informing me to this issue. I never took into consideration the ambient temperature being too high until you notified me.
I imagine eBay will sell the flood beam halogens, petshops will probably charge 50% more because the bulb will likely have "reptile specific" on it which is basically just a con.
You can measure the substrate temps with either a Temp-gun or the meat thermometer, just poke it down to different levels.
I think you mentioned earlier that the monitor does get overweight at times, perhaps it is just that or maybe you have a female that`s been gravid on a few occasions? It`s extremely important to get the coolest ambient down to around 75f.
Would it be possible to remove the basking object without damaging the wall too much, then you could use a flat stone/similar instead which would be lower, that would probably achieve the minimum distance for the UVB tube? ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Alright Update! Sorry for disappearing again. I've always been bad at keeping up with forums and online stuff.
I changed my lighting set up. Got a less powerful bulb, and rearranged things as best I could. The hide is made out of clay and easily falls apart, and in addition is attached to the bottom and side of the tank via a wood platform (we did this so the ackie could dig under the hide without any worries of tunnels beneath it collapsing in on her). honestly cutting a hole in the enclosure and place chicken wire to set the tube bulb on would be easier, but It would be a while before I was prepared to do such an operation.

Temperatures are looking alot better with the new bulb set up. took a bunch around 4PM

wall thermometer on cool side of the tank reads 85f
thermomter gun on cool side surface reads 80f
highest basking spot reads 130f
lowest basking spot reads 105f
5 inches below surface on hot side reads 80f
bottom of tank on hot side reads 78f
5 inches below surface on cool side reads 78f
bottom of tank on cool side reads 76f

Sydney (thats her name) has been way more active since i changed the bulb. she has started scratching at the glass and perching on my shoulder again.
However, a new concern has arised. She has stopped taking food from me. I haven't seen her eat in a little over a week now. Whenever i show her crickets or leave them next to her, she ignores them. However, they have been disappearing so perhaps she is hunting them when i'm not around. Also she could be eating custodians.
Here are some images that might help us sex:


 

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The basking surface temp is ok but they will use surface temps up to 65c (150f or so) but in the circumstances I think it`s o.k as is, at least for now.
The substrate temps mid level are too low, you need around the mid 80`s F for nesting. Can you show a whole body photo and have you noticed any more weight gain in the last couple of weeks (perhaps indicating gravidity)?
I cannot tell gender from the current pics, in males the spiny scales at the tailbase are more prominent (I know you can`t compare, but it may still be apparent).
I would suggest weighing the monitor regularly, no need to force handle, you can put some food inside a smallish container then close it as the animal goes in, then weigh box and lizard (obviously deduct box weight)!
You might notice hemipenal bulges or lack of if you hold the animal with it`s vent facing shade, rather than light.
 
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