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Blue tongue Skink or Savannah monitor?

Discussion in 'Off Topic Debates' started by Vishnu2, Sep 24, 2012.

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  1. Vishnu2

    Vishnu2 Member 5 Year Member

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    I am trying to decide between the 2 and if I should get one. However, I have heard negative about both. I was wondering if anyone has had experience with both and what it was like.. What was the plus and minuses of each? Thanks so much for your opinions.
  2. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club

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    I like big lizards. Plain and simple. Size wise, The savannah gets a lot bigger, but that will be a plus for some and a negative for others.

    They are both pretty easy to keep, but I have to say the BTS is easier. There really isn't any reptile that is easier than them.

    The BTS is also easier to feed, but the savannah is not all that hard either. The new thinking with Savannah's is that the are really insectivores and not so much a meat eater. If you subscribe to this way of thinking, you will need to provide lots of insects. Crickets are not going to cut it for a 3' long lizard, so you will need to start some roach colonies. The BTS can just eat canned dog food and mixed veggies with some occasional calcium added.

    Personality-wise, I have seen some great Savannah's. I have also seen a lot of shy ones that avoided any contact at all. My experience with BTS is much more limited, but it has been all positive. They seem to be a much more interactive and bold pet in most cases.

    What bad things have you heard about BTS?

    Overall, I'd have to say there is really no better reptile pet than a captive bred Australian BTS of one type or another.
  3. Vishnu2

    Vishnu2 Member 5 Year Member

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    BTS hiss a lot. A little more on the aggressive side, harder to bond with and over-all a little harder to "tame". Anyone that tells me to get one says go Northern.
  4. acrantophis

    acrantophis Member 5 Year Member

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    Agree 100%
  5. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club

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    I've had lots and lots of monitor lizards, but I've only raised one BTS. For the past year since I got mine, I have been obsessively researching all about them and all the different types. I don't know how many times I've email or PMd poor Jeff with all my questions, but its been a lot.

    What I know of the Northerns is that almost all of them are friendly, inquisitive, social and tame. Mine would ride around on my shoulder as a baby. Id let him walk down my arm to a waiting bowl of food and he'd sit there on my hand and eat out of the bowl, even though he'd been riding around on my shoulder and we were still outside in the open. They are THAT tame. I've raised lots of savannahs, and known even more, but NONE of them are anywhere near as tame as the typical BTS I've seen. I have heard that some of the W/C adults from some of the other countries can be hissy and unfriendly, but to my knowledge all of the Australians, and especially the Northerns, are super good. We need to get JeffG in on this. He has more BTS experience than anyone I know. I'll PM him the link.

    I don't have an answer to your original question. I love both species and have had success with both. I guess it just depends on what YOU are really looking for in a reptile pet. Can you tell us a bit more about what you are looking for? I love my BTS, and its easier to house and care for than a monitor by a lot, but I can't say that its better. They are just different. The monitors are certainly more of a challenge, but also very rewarding. Maybe you are not looking for a challenge. A big tame savannah is one of the coolest things ever, but many don't turn out that way. On the other hand most Northern BTS do. I was just handling a friends Northern today. I just reached right in and picked him up. He's at least 20 years old, but still spry and doing fine. There are not too many savs that will just sit there and let a stranger reach in and grab them. I hope it doesn't sound like I'm trying to tell you which one to get. I'm just trying to paint you a picture of each one. I have been thrilled with both, so I think its win win either way.
  6. Itort

    Itort Well-Known Member 10 Year Member! 5 Year Member

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    I've kept both and have gravitated to the BTs. As Tom pointed out Savannas are large insectivores with large appetites requiring a large enclosure with a burrowing substrate. BTs are much easier to feed and house. Both get very tame but a majority of Savannas and some species of BTs (T gigas) are wild caught and need handleing to tame down. In my opinion a captive born BT can't be beat.
  7. StudentoftheReptile

    StudentoftheReptile Active Member 5 Year Member

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    You will need a minimum of an 8x4x4 custom-built closed-in enclosure for a young savannah monitor. In short, a small 20-40 gall glass tank set-up does not cut it for them. Check out: http://www.savannahmonitor.net/ for more info.

    Also, if you want a "tame" docile lizard you can handle often, a monitor is not what you are looking for. All the fat, lazy, "tame" monitors you usually see on youtube and TV, are actually lethargic, obese, under-stimulated, dehydrated lizards on death's door.

    A BTS is much hardier, durable and nicer. I have kept a few over the years, and I love them. Very forgiving captives, and much easier to deal with for someone new to lizards.
  8. shellysmom

    shellysmom Member 5 Year Member

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    BTS. Hands down. They're friendly and cute-ish. Monitors get big and scary. Did anyone else see that show where the guy kept a bunch of monitors roaming free in his apartment... One day he hit his head and passed out and they ate him. Or something like that. True story.
  9. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club

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    Oh jeez... this is how stories get blown up. The dude had 7 adult nile monitors loose in his apt. He died of natural causes and after about a week the monitors had eaten some of his facial skin.
  10. StudentoftheReptile

    StudentoftheReptile Active Member 5 Year Member

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    Someone's been watching Animal Planet and Fox News! :rolleyes:
  11. Itort

    Itort Well-Known Member 10 Year Member! 5 Year Member

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    Monitor lizards are deadly. Why just last night I witnessed my bloodthirsty Timor slaughter and devour 18 large, helpless, defendless crickets.;) Monitors are oppurnistic obligate carnivores and very good at it and people should appreciate them as such.
  12. CourtneyAndCarl

    CourtneyAndCarl Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    I thought he died due to a bacterial infection he got after being bitten by one a week or so before? Those weren't Savannah moniters, though, and there is a huge difference between letting several giant, probably territorial lizards running loose in your apartment and caring for them properly in their own enclosures :)
  13. StudentoftheReptile

    StudentoftheReptile Active Member 5 Year Member

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    In all seriousness, monitors are not horrible, bloodthirsty creatures hellbent on destruction. The long and short of it is that there is a LOT more to their longterm (and proper) care & husbandry than most dealers & pet stores realize, and likewise, inform their customers. Similar to the slow, but steady paradigm shift in hatchling sulcata tortoise care, there is a lot of "old school" information out there, and many people still adhere to it.

    The really sad part of it is that thousands of baby savannah monitors are imported into the U.S. every year, kept in the classic "beef-jerky maker" set-up (glass tank, little substrate, not enough heat, low humidity, etc), and they slowly perish. If you do some digging and asking around, you'll find that most don't make it make it to their first birthday, and many rarely live past 5 years. For decades, we (the collective industry) have been keeping savannah monitors like we keep bearded dragons and Uromastyx, and all we get is fat, lazy, monitors that suffer from gout and die premature deaths.

    These animals needs LARGE spacious enclosures with plenty of room & substrate to dig and move and several basking sites. A healthy monitor is an ACTIVE monitor! People who see healthy monitors observe that its like a fast-motion film or that the lizards are on speed or something.
  14. Itort

    Itort Well-Known Member 10 Year Member! 5 Year Member

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    I have to agree with Student. I have a Timor monitor (a much smaller animal than a Savanna) in a 4x 4 x 5 enclosure. Timors have a reputation of shy retiring boring monitor but in this habitat with plenty of climbing structures, a deep substrat, and large water pool she's anything but shy. We call her Lightening because she runs and explores daylong. She apparently likes it enough to have nested twice (no mle, so oh well). This setup is for a 2' STL reptile.
  15. StudentoftheReptile

    StudentoftheReptile Active Member 5 Year Member

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    Blue-tongued skinks are awesome, through and through. I'm sure if their reproductive rate was higher, they'd be more popular. They're the perfect "pet" lizard.
  16. Terry Allan Hall

    Terry Allan Hall Active Member 5 Year Member

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    Monitors are trainable, but you'd be advised to get a baby, as older monitors can be difficult to tame and have a nasty bite, sometimes. And a Savannah can get up to 5' in length, but can be taught to walk on a leash.

    [​IMG]
    baby
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    adult​

    Blue tongues aren't as dangerous, but they also lack the cool factor, even when on a leash.

    [​IMG]

    Have you considered a Water moniter? Just a little larger, but much more likely to become "dog tame". I've a friend with a 7'er that is very calm and docile, but he was raised from a hatchling and always handled gently.

    [​IMG]

    Do not buy a Nile monitor...they RARELY become very tame, and get large enough to be VERY dangerous!
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