How to Care for Your Dumeril’s Monitor

5th Jan 2016

If you’re an exotic pet owner, you know that Monitor lizards can be an impressive sight to behold. Dumeril’s Monitors are no exception. These relatively large and elegant creatures can be a fantastic addition to any habitat although they are not for the passive person. Like most monitor species, Dumeril’s Monitors are caught in the wild and sold in captivity. This means that they require extra care and maintenance. That being said, this species adjusts relatively well to domestication, as long as you follow proper procedures. Below we’ll outline the best way to care, feed, and house your Dumeril’s Monitor.


This species of Monitor is found in a vast area of Southeast Asia, ranging from Southern Myanmar to Western Malaysia and even Singapore. Thus, this species, like most Monitors, is acclimated to a warm, tropical climate. Dumeril’s are a relatively large species as well, reaching up to five feet in length, although most are three to four feet long. Due to their size, you need to have an enclosure that can house them satisfactorily. While it certainly depends on the exact length of your Monitor, a space of at least six feet long, four feet wide, and six feet high. The height is because these lizards love to climb among the trees as well as burrow underground. It’s important that you have a habitat with both substrate and branches, as well as a large water pit for your pet to bath in. Dumeril’s Monitors are amphibious, so it’s imperative that you provide water for them to rest and swim in. Ideally, the water dish would be drainable for easy cleaning, but it’s not necessary.

When it comes to substrate, you want to make sure that it is soft enough for burrowing. Eucalyptus bark or Cypress mulch should suffice, but any kind of soft, loose covering will do, as long as it isn’t covered in any industrial cleaners or chemicals. In addition to having large, sturdy branches for your Monitor to climb on, you should have logs and enclosures in which your pet can hide. Dumeril’s Monitors are easily stressed, so they like to have places to hide out. This also means that your enclosure should be in a nice, quiet area as these lizards are acutely aware of their surroundings.

When it comes to lighting and temperature, remember that this species comes from a tropical climate. Ideally, your habitat should range from 78-85 degrees, not dipping below 75 degrees at night. You must also provide a basking area, which should be at least 110 degrees, but not much higher than that. Incandescent bulbs or ceramic heating plates are sufficient in providing a basking area. It’s critical, however, that your enclosure is big enough to allow for a range of temperatures so your pet can thermoregulate itself. If your habitat is not well ventilated, then it can easily get too hot for your Monitor, thus creating health and safety problems.

Humidity should hover around 75-80 percent; however, there should be a dry area as well. Ideally, you would use a commercial reptile mister to achieve this, but if you mist the humid area multiple times throughout the day, you can get the same effect. Lighting is also essential for your Monitor, and it’s imperative that you replicate sunlight as much as possible. UVB bulbs are ideal, but you can use incandescent bulbs if need be. Just be sure to place them so your lizard can bask within six to twelve inches from them.


Dumeril’s Monitors are still being studied in the wild, so we’re still finding out more information about their natural habitat, including dietary habits. Dumeril’s, like most monitors, feeds on a wide variety of insects and animals, from roaches to worms to small rodents. Because this species also swims, it loves to dine on small crabs and crayfish. Ideally, you would mimic their natural diet as much as possible, meaning that you should provide a variety of food for your lizard. As mentioned, they love crayfish and crabs, so these should be offered on a semi-regular basis, if you can.

When it comes to insects, you can offer your Monitor a wide range of feeder bugs, but we recommend  Dubia Roaches if possible. These roaches are bred for maximum protein and nutrient levels, so they can help ensure that your Monitor is happy and healthy. Dubia Roaches are also bred to be more docile, so you can toss them into your enclosure and allow your pet to munch on them at its leisure.


Like most Monitors, Dumeril’s are not a pet that’s meant to be handled. They have sharp claws and teeth, and can be easily agitated if held for an extended period. Thus, this species is one that is meant to be observed, not touched. If cared for correctly, your lizard can live up to twelve years in captivity.

Because these animals are rare, breeding them in captivity is something that many herpetologists are trying to do. If you are interested, it is possible to breed them, although it does require extra effort. A single male can be placed with one or two females although they should regularly be monitored. If they are successful in breeding, you will need to provide a small enclosure for the eggs: a plastic tub nestled in sand, with a wooden shelter surrounding it from which they can easily enter and exit.

Dumeril’s Monitors are quite a sight to behold, and can make a great addition to any habitat. As long as you respect and treat them with care, they can be a fantastic pet. 

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