Pet of the Day

November 11, 1998

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Stuart, the Pet of the Day
Name: Stuart
Age: Five years old
Gender: Male
Kind: Asian Water Monitor
Home: Atlanta, Georgia, USA
   This is me and Stuart a four and a half foot Asian Water Monitor. Stu is as close to a Jurrasic Park pet as you can get. When full grown he can obtain lengths from seven to eight feet and 100 pounds. Even though he could really cause some serious harm with those long claws and powerful jaws, he puts up with me most of the time. I have always kept exotic reptiles/pets most of my life and old Stu is one of my favorites.

    Asian Water Monitors live near water, swamp lands where they feed on a variety of things such as eggs, small mammals, fish and type of meat or mollusk they can fit in their mouth. They, like all, reptiles don't really show affection nor particularly enjoy to be handled. Over time and constant interaction they can become docile and will put up with it for a while. I did not get him when he was a baby but my guess he is about four to five years old. They have been known to live up to twenty years in captivity. The water monitor is a carnivore so I feed him about three times a week and a meal usually consists of two to three small rats or three to four chicken thighs (boiled to kill any salmonella), and sometimes raw meat. Again they will eat about any kind of meat but usually the base diet needs to consist of mice/rats because they get nutrients from all parts of whole animals. So you can see this is not a pet for everyone, especially due to the large size they can reach. He currently lives in a large cage 4 feet wide x 8 feet long x 6 feet high in my front living room here in Atlanta Georgia.

    They do like to soak in a pool of water and this is usually where they defecate so daily water changes are a must. There are other monitor species that do not attain such a large size in the pet trade, such as Savannah monitors, and these make good pets for those interested in keeping reptiles. You may have seen a movie called 'The Freshman' with Matthew Broderick where they were handling a large lizard that was supposed to be a Komodo Dragon, which actually was a Water Monitor. These lizards are one of the few that actually calm down in captivity therefore can be used in motion pictures. The movie 'Stone Cold' with Brian Bosworth had one in it too. So if you have the time, space, and money to provide the upkeep for one of these gentle giants, and you really liked the movie Jurrasic Park, then this is the pet for you.

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