Reptiles/feeding issue


QUESTION: Hey tracie!!! I have another problem I need help with.

I have a water monitor and I had him ever since he was a hatchling but now he's a 7' lizard who picked up a habit...He's healthy and not obese the vet said but yesterday I bought him a meduim sized tuna and he smelled it and ran into my leg and followed me all the way to the kitchen trying to jump. Last week he grabbed my friends pet rat out my hand and ate it, he even plays with his food and making a bloody mess. Hes out most of the time with my savannah monitor and argentine tegu  walking around and he gets along quite well. I also let them feel like hunters by letting rats run lose in my room. But why is he acting like this now? He's really calm and has a 16'(L)x6'(W)x4'(H) cage with a pond he don't have a mister now because he broke the other one.

ANSWER: Hello Porsher,

What's up?
He is 7 inches in length now?  Do you have pictures of him?
Is he going through a growth spurt right now?  He could just be learning how to hunt more aggressively by watching the others.  Are they aggressive feeders also?  He ate your friends' pet rat, really?  
How long has he been doing that?  It does sound like he is tearing everything up when he eats now.
That is great you let them run around to hunt, so they can be in a natural setting to eat.
I would love to see his tank setup too, with the pond.  That sounds nice.  He broke the mister in his tank?  
How long does he stay out of his tank during the day?

Let me know how things are going.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: I'll take pics and send them whenever I can because I'm on vacation so I have a reptile specialist watching them. But he's 7 feet in length and hopefully he's done growing haha. I would 50% of the time their aggressive feeders besides the argentine tegu. I can hand feed all them with no problem, they'll nip and lick my hand when their done because I had the savannah and water monitor ever since they were hatchlings. Yea sadly last week or so my friend was showing me the rat and he ran and grabbed it, it was nothing we could've done but I bought her a new one. He would paw at the tank to come out and since they need certain humidity and temps they stay out for 30 mins. to an hour but the cages stay open because they know when to go back...these animals are really smart if you teach them while their young before their grown and it suprises me. My water monitor slept under my bed the whole night before lol it was a sleepover. And he was hunting out his cage and the rodent ran behind the container the mister was in and down the stairs it went.

ANSWER: Hello Porsher,

Well, I was going to ask if he was 7 feet in length but didn't think they got quite that long!  Geez, what in the world are you feeding him?  LOL
I would hope he is done growing!  
That is wonderful you have someone watching him while you are gone.  
It sounds like they are very tame.  You definitely have to work with them when they are young to get them used to hand feeding.  
That is terrible, I am sorry that he got your friend's rat like that.  How upsetting though to have to watch.  
He has already reached sexual maturity, correct, so that shouldn't be affecting his behavior.
Have you changed anything else in the room that could be setting him off some?
It sounds like he gets plenty of out of the tank time.  
Yes, they are very smart indeed, I agree!  How neat, he slept under your bed when you had company overnight?  
Well, that would definitely break the mister!  LOL  

I am looking forward to seeing pictures soon.  :-)  Thanks.  
Enjoy your vacation.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: He's too aggressive to strangers,he sent my friend to the hospital for hand stitches and he deserved it because he didn't listen to my warning. He slept under the bed while it was only me in there because he literally claimed dominance under my bed so I had to remove my things under there. The only thing I did was move my bed so I'm thinking that made him upset but I had to make room because all my reptiles are large and they enclosures are custom built and huge so I had to move them around and stack 2 on top of each other. He's spoiled like the rest of my babies lol and his cage is the second largest. But he's like a puppy and crave for attention he even crawls to lay on my back or stomach when I lay on the floor but he needs to realize he's heavy...I'll get a rock or bedding and rub it on the floor under my bed(I have a tile floor)so he's scent can be on there...try to confuse him. He don't eat bugs anymore so his diet has been sea animals(fish,crayfish,etc...),rodents and birds(doves,chicks,young chickens,etc...),also reptiles/amphibians(frogs,feeder geckos/anoles).

Hello Porsher,

Oh my, that is terrible.  Though it isn't your monitor's fault, though your friend should have known better!  I hope he was ok.
That is something else, he was territorial about his space under the bed.  I am sure that he loves attention & probably demands it, too.  
A big heavy puppy huh?  How much does he weigh?  I can see why you feed larger feeders.  That would be a bit difficult to watch for me anyway.

I hope all is well your way.



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Tracie Kretzschmar


I can answer questions pertaining to health, UVB specifics, overall husbandry care & supplementation, analysis of blood test results, and behavioral problems & handling. I can answer questions pertaining to bearded dragons, leopard geckos, iguanas, uromastyx & ball pythons. I can answer adeno virus related questions in bearded dragons, & then specifically about the testing methods as well. I am beginning an Pogona Adeno Testing Society in 2008 which will help to begin to start some standardization within the bearded dragon colonies of the breeders who choose to test.


I have been working with bearded dragons for over 5 years now, as well as leopard geckos, too. I am currently doing rescues, as well. I hope to be able to educate people prior to them purchasing an exotic pet in order to avoid any health crisis with them.

I have a master's degree in sports medicine & physiology, & 1 year of vet tech schooling, & am currently working on a reptile certification through the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council.

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