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What Are the Pros and Cons of a Monitor Lizard as a Pet?

E. Reeder
E. Reeder

As with most pets, there are positive and negative points about having a monitor lizard as a pet. They can be fascinating pets for people who enjoy simply watching animal behavior, they have a diverse diet that makes them fairly easy to feed, and they are solitary creatures that do not require that one keep a second monitor lizard as a pet to keep them company. At the same time, they grow quickly and end up requiring a lot of food, meaning they aren't cheap to feed. They also have an aggressive temperament and a strong bite and sharp claws to go with it.

Monitor lizards are brightly colored animals. They are quite intelligent and curious by nature. Their diet is highly versatile, so there are many different foods that can be used to feed them. They also are extremely active creatures and can provide hours of entertainment for people who enjoy watching animals. They do not get lonely and are naturally solitary creatures, so it is not necessary to put more than one monitor lizard in a cage to provide companionship.


Despite their positive aspects, there also are some negative aspects to keeping a monitor lizard as a pet. They are aggressive creatures and carnivores that have sharp claws and have been known to bite children and small animals. Their bite can be so strong, in fact, that once they have bitten something, it is extremely difficult to get them to release their grip before they are ready. While their intelligence is a positive in some ways, people who have had a monitor lizard as a pet also have frequently reported that they use their intellect to find clever ways to escape from their cages. They also require a large cage that is continually kept very warm, which can take up quite a bit of space and could be costly.

While their diet can be very diverse, monitor lizards grow quickly and become very large as adults and, thus, require a great deal of food. Their cages must be cleaned and their water must be replaced frequently. This type of lizard cannot be let out of its cage and into a person’s house or yard, because it might hurt people and other animals and destroy property. Monitor lizards have been known to kill small animals. Besides biting, they may sting people and animals by lashing their tail.

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Discussion Comments


The Komodo dragon version of the monitor lizard makes a great pet in the sense that it is fun to watch them go about their daily routines. I visited a farm once where there were several of the large monitors housed in a large area covering several acres. I wouldn't exactly say they were pets, but they were enclosed and they were not afraid of humans.

I think they can make good pets for responsible pet owners. The lizards require some work. The primary concerns are making sure they have everything they need in their environment, and making sure they don't escape. A Komodo on the loose can be a dangerous situation.


Whether or not a monitor lizard will make a good pet depends on whether you are talking about the large monitor lizards or the smaller ones. Some of these lizards reach three meters in length and can feed on animals as large as adult deer. In my opinion, these animals should never be kept as pets. They are wild animals and they should remain in the wild.

I am not a fan of making pets out of the small members of the monitor lizard family either, but at least they don't require as much space, and they are less likely to cause damage to property, and less likely to hurt humans and other pets.

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