Savannah monitors are found in the wild in the desert scrubland habitats in Central South Africa. They grow to be 2.5 to 3 feet long and normally weigh 11 to 12 pounds when fully grown. The adults require quite enclosures of at least 72" x 24" x 24" when kept in captivity.
They require a large amount of space and a fairly large amount of food to be properly maintained. This species requires only low levels of humidity.
Any monitor, including Savannah monitors, should be treated with respect, because they are extremely strong for their size, and have very sharp teeth.
Savannahs listed as a "threatened" species in their natural habitat, due to the pet trade, trade in reptile skins, and the fact that they are used in their native countries as a source of food.
Savannah monitors are usually first purchased as hatchlings or juveniles.
Choosing a lizard:
It is best to choose a young animal (hatchling or juvenile, under 2 feet long). While animals raised from birth by humans make the best pet, monitors don't breed easily in captivity. Please check with your pet supplier to find out if your lizard is from a reputable breeder or was captured wild.
The monitor should be active and alert, free from sores and abrasions, clean around the vent and belly (not caked with feces), of solid weight (not too fat, not too thin), outgoing but not aggressive, and reasonably calm when handled. Usually young monitors will squirm when first handled, and sometimes they will defecate. This is normal and will diminish with frequent handling.