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Deciding between Tegu, Ackie or Savannah Monitor?

casey15

New Member
Messages
110
Hi I'm 17 am new and have a question. I know asking this makes me seem like I have no knowledge about lizards but I do, I've researched all I could, I have both the time, money and space to house, work with and feed my lizard. I've found a reptile vet. I have a cage that's 8X4X4 for the adult size, I know all the supplies I need/diet/temperature. I'm having a lot of trouble choosing between an Argentine Black and White Tegu, Columbian Tegu, Savannah Monitor, or a Red Ackie. The cage I have is large enough for any one of these, and I have the money to feed.

The characteristics I'm looking for are
Intelligent, if it could learn tricks that would be amazing but it's not necessary

Easier temperature needs/hardy- the Tegu's need specific humidity and it seems hard to keep a cage that big at the right levels

Able to be handled- I don't care if it's a bundle of energy(I would love an active/semi-active lizard) I wan't to be able to handle the lizard maybe walk him on a harness(indoors only). I'm willing to put in the work for a more agressive lizard.

I like Tegu's because their trainable and seem to be laid back, but I'm drawn to the monitors because I think they're beautiful, I love how active they are, and I like their smaller size, Tegu's get pretty heavy, also they don't need such strict temperatures, they seem more hardy.

I want a lizard I can handle I'm thinking of a monitor but I can't decide. Can someone tell me more about Keeping an Ackie/Savannah Monitor?

Which lizard would you suggest and why? Pros and cons of each?

thanks I know this is really long!
 

DavidRosi

New Member
Messages
196
"Intelligent, if it could learn tricks that would be amazing but it's not necessary"

I've now seen it all. :)

I don't think you'll ever find a reptile that'll play fetch or "roll-over"

However; I will say to be wary of Savanah Monitors... and if you hear any stick about Colombian Tegu's, it seems it's nurture over nature in their case.


So comes down to your preference really :)
 

casey15

New Member
Messages
110
DavidRosi said:
"Intelligent, if it could learn tricks that would be amazing but it's not necessary"

I've now seen it all. :)

I don't think you'll ever find a reptile that'll play fetch or "roll-over"

However; I will say to be wary of Savanah Monitors... and if you hear any stick about Colombian Tegu's, it seems it's nurture over nature in their case.


So comes down to your preference really :)


You'd be suprised I've seen a Monitor that played fetch/tug of war and a Tegu that could do a handshake/play dead. The monitor playing fetch was the funniest thing I've ever seen :) Probably took a heck of a lot of training!

thanks for your answer, why should I be careful about the Savanah's? Because of temperment? Would you say the Ackie or Tegu?

Sorry for more questions, thanks for answering though


As much as I like Tegu's I think I'm going to go with a monitor, they need much less specific heating and the cage I have is more tall than wide, better for a monitor. I also love the look of the monitors. Now I have to chose between a Red Ackie or Savannah!
 

TegusRawsome80

Active Member
5 Year Member
Messages
766
They need less specific heating? Are you insane? Heating a monitor is just as complex, if not more, as heating a tegu. Tegus don't need the same intensity of heat at the basking spot, and are much more hardy animals. Monitors need an 140 degree basking spot. Ackies and savannah monitors aren't arboreal, so the height of the cage doesn't matter at all. Also, the odds of you teaching it tricks are extremely low so don't make that a priority. Get a dog if you want to teach it tricks. You'll have a hard time getting an ackie that you can trust to not run when you get it out without you constantly holding it. You don't seem to have done much research to be brutally honest. You need to take a few steps back, actually research the animals and then re evaluate what you want. I don't know where you found info that stated that monitors need less specific heating than tegus but it's wrong. So is the assumption that ackies and savannahs need more vertical space than tegus.
 

DavidRosi

New Member
Messages
196
Well said.
And Sav's are... interesting I suppose, don't know how things are in the States, but here in the UK you can pick them up as hatchling's for a mere £45, compared to a fairly hefty £260 for a Argentine B&W... Which usually means that when some little laddie looks at the "cool little monitor lizard" in the shops viv and buys it for the 'bargain price', they don't realize that they're not the easiest of reptiles without the proper care and attention.

As a personal reference; I looked after a friends Sav while he was away... From what I could tell the poor little guy had never ad much real attention, most likely because he tail whipped and bit 7 shades out of me and anyone that decided to enter his "zone", but if you feel you can handle a potentially 6 foot, strong reptile with an attitude problem; crack on !

Also worth noting; do you have any experience with other reptiles? Or is this your first?
 

casey15

New Member
Messages
110
TegusRawsome80 said:
They need less specific heating? Are you insane? Heating a monitor is just as complex, if not more, as heating a tegu. Tegus don't need the same intensity of heat at the basking spot, and are much more hardy animals. Monitors need an 140 degree basking spot. Ackies and savannah monitors aren't arboreal, so the height of the cage doesn't matter at all. Also, the odds of you teaching it tricks are extremely low so don't make that a priority. Get a dog if you want to teach it tricks. You'll have a hard time getting an ackie that you can trust to not run when you get it out without you constantly holding it. You don't seem to have done much research to be brutally honest. You need to take a few steps back, actually research the animals and then re evaluate what you want. I don't know where you found info that stated that monitors need less specific heating than tegus but it's wrong. So is the assumption that ackies and savannahs need more vertical space than tegus.


I wasn't really making tricks a priority, it just would be cool, I realize it won't happen, it was more of a stupid comment I said.I think you'd be hard pressed to meet anyone who would think it wouldn't be incredible to train their lizard. I wasn't basing my decision of off that. I'm going to put in the work to get him to trust me. I've worked with animals that have been abused and have learned how to help make them trust humans again. I've never done this with a monitor, and I'm not getting an abused one, but many of the ways are the same. I don't mean monitors are like dogs or cats, but a lot of trust excercises like food, holding, petting, giving space is very similiar to how people tame lizards.

By heating I meant the humidity levels, sorry I should have been more specific. I know what temperatures both need and I know they need a 140 degree basking spot, I've done lots of research but I didn't write down every little thing I knew about each species. For the Tegu I was planning on getting a misting machine to help me keep the level of humidity(but that's not the only way I'd maintain the right level). By less complicated heating I didn't word it the best but I meant that the monitors can drop to lower temperatures at night. The Tegu's are much more picky with heating. I was thinking of the hardiness of the animal. The Monitor's heating and temperature needs would be much easier to program on a reptile timer system than a Tegu.


As for the vertical space I'll admit I didn't know that I've found varying sources saying some need more vertical than Tegus and some that say they don't. That's why the cage I have is both very wide/long and tall. I found lots of info that said both, and I've seen enclosures both ways. I just got a custom cage, that takes care of both, it's built so if the monitor doesn't climb much/I get a Tegu It can be turned on the side, and still be able to open, and it'd be very long and wide enough for the lizard. I'd just change the cage layout before I turned it. Move heat sources, etc.
 

NorCalAl

Member
5 Year Member
Messages
76
I have a trio of ackies and they have great personalities! They interact constantly and are a lot of fun to just sit and watch. A couple days ago, I had them out for a soak while I cleaned the cage. Afterwards, I picked each one up to dry them and they were so calm as I picked shed off them and just stroked their backs. I've not owned a tegu - yet - but it's hard to imagine having a lizard more enjoyable than these guys. Would I set them down and let them explore? Not a freaking chance! Could I sit and watch TV with them? Sure! If they are in their cage! I've seen lots of posts about folks interacting with their tegus and if that's what's important, I'd go that path. Ackies are more for watching than holding - they are pretty flighty.
I guess it's all in what you want.
 

casey15

New Member
Messages
110
DavidRosi said:
Well said.
And Sav's are... interesting I suppose, don't know how things are in the States, but here in the UK you can pick them up as hatchling's for a mere £45, compared to a fairly hefty £260 for a Argentine B&W... Which usually means that when some little laddie looks at the "cool little monitor lizard" in the shops viv and buys it for the 'bargain price', they don't realize that they're not the easiest of reptiles without the proper care and attention.

As a personal reference; I looked after a friends Sav while he was away... From what I could tell the poor little guy had never ad much real attention, most likely because he tail whipped and bit 7 shades out of me and anyone that decided to enter his "zone", but if you feel you can handle a potentially 6 foot, strong reptile with an attitude problem; crack on !

Also worth noting; do you have any experience with other reptiles? Or is this your first?


I've owned reptiles before, I've owned lizards, snake, newts (love those little amphibians!) and a red eared slider turtle. I've handled other people's reptiles before, and have researched constantly before narrowing down my choices.

NorCalAl said:
I have a trio of ackies and they have great personalities! They interact constantly and are a lot of fun to just sit and watch. A couple days ago, I had them out for a soak while I cleaned the cage. Afterwards, I picked each one up to dry them and they were so calm as I picked shed off them and just stroked their backs. I've not owned a tegu - yet - but it's hard to imagine having a lizard more enjoyable than these guys. Would I set them down and let them explore? Not a freaking chance! Could I sit and watch TV with them? Sure! If they are in their cage! I've seen lots of posts about folks interacting with their tegus and if that's what's important, I'd go that path. Ackies are more for watching than holding - they are pretty flighty.
I guess it's all in what you want.

I'm considering an Ackie, I love their personality and color. On a scale of 1-10 how hyperactive are yours? I've heard they're crazy and seen hyped up ones! An Ackie and me would get along well, I'm never still either! Where did you get yours?
 

Dana C

Member
Messages
633
While I haven't owned a Savannah I do have a large Black Throat. I have seen videos and read accounts from owners of Sav's that demonstrate that while not Tegu tame, a Savannah can be taught to respond to some voice commands and can make great pet display lizards.
As far as heating goes, timers are great and starting with really high temperatures in the basking area is the way to go. Your monitor, if that is what you get, may prefer it cooler.
My basking area for Kinabo is right at 135f. However, he almost never spends much time there. He will lounge on the perimeter after eating but spends most of his time in the 90-95f zone and lets himself get down to 75-80 at night. My Tegus are much the same as well. One day it is heat, heat, heat and the next day is spent in the cool end.

You mentioned that you tend to be on the active / hyper side. An animals temperament will often mirror what they sense in the person they interact with. Nuff said.

It is too bad that Black Throats, V albigularus ionidesi are almost impossible to find and the young adults you can find for sale are getting very expensive. If you wanted a watch TV monitor, with work and consistency, they come about as close as you can get....at least in my opinion.

Blanket statements about Monitors are usually largely lacking in accuracy. Monitors live in South East Asia, Australia, Africa, Indonesia and the Solomon's. Research your specific species, as humidity, heat levels substrate, bathing accommodations etc. can be quite different between them.
Care sheets are only a place to begin. If you listen to your lizard he or she will tell you what it likes and needs.
 

Scott_k

Member
Messages
84
I have a red tegu and a savannah. I would recommend a tegu if this is your first big lizard. As babies my red was more laid back than any of my monitors. From my personal expirence I believe it's alot easier to build trust with a tegu.( they are more accepting of people). Just like norcalal said about his ackies is the same with my savannah. Now my tegu gets to free roam around the house and he never runs away when approached he can bet held by my freinds, that's not the case with my sav. To sum it up tegus I think are more laid back and they are more forgiving.
 

casey15

New Member
Messages
110
Scott_k said:
I have a red tegu and a savannah. I would recommend a tegu if this is your first big lizard. As babies my red was more laid back than any of my monitors. From my personal expirence I believe it's alot easier to build trust with a tegu.( they are more accepting of people). Just like norcalal said about his ackies is the same with my savannah. Now my tegu gets to free roam around the house and he never runs away when approached he can bet held by my freinds, that's not the case with my sav. To sum it up tegus I think are more laid back and they are more forgiving.

I'm having trouble finding an argentine tegu for sale, I can only find the columbian tegus, and the occasional red. Even companies that ship only have columbians. There are no places in MY ENTIRE state that I could find that sell Tegu's so online is my only option. If anyone knows any breeders in Illinois that would be great!
 

TegusRawsome80

Active Member
5 Year Member
Messages
766
Monitors are notoriously less hardy than tegus and can't survive as much variation in heat. Tegus are extremely hardy and can handle a lot of adversity, although you should still avoid it. Get a tegu but please actually research the species before making a purchase.
 

casey15

New Member
Messages
110
TegusRawsome80 said:
Monitors are notoriously less hardy than tegus and can't survive as much variation in heat. Tegus are extremely hardy and can handle a lot of adversity, although you should still avoid it. Get a tegu but please actually research the species before making a purchase.

I have researched both species every day for WEEKS, I know about them both but was having trouble choosing. I was looking for info from people who've owned them. I may not have worded or asked my question in the best way. :shy:
 

NorCalAl

Member
5 Year Member
Messages
76
My ackies are active, but not hyper! They have lots of hides and I know THEY know when I come in the room. Most of the time, by the time I'm looking in the cage, they're looking out of a hide. First thing in the morning, when they are hungry, they are out waiting for me.
I soak em about every ten days and they love it - or love it as much as I can tell a monitor loves something. They are so calm when I take them out. They sit on my hand or arm and allow me to stoke them or pick off loose shed.
They interact pretty much whenever they are out. Chasing each other for the food in the other's mouth is the best game. Apparently, rules of ackie eating include: the food the other guy has must be better than what's still in the bowl. You almost feel sorry for the roaches and crickets. Almost. Nah.
Ackies are a lot of fun. I really can't wait to get them in the new cage and see how they react to having some decent space.
 

larissalurid

New Member
Messages
322
casey15 said:
Scott_k said:
I have a red tegu and a savannah. I would recommend a tegu if this is your first big lizard. As babies my red was more laid back than any of my monitors. From my personal expirence I believe it's alot easier to build trust with a tegu.( they are more accepting of people). Just like norcalal said about his ackies is the same with my savannah. Now my tegu gets to free roam around the house and he never runs away when approached he can bet held by my freinds, that's not the case with my sav. To sum it up tegus I think are more laid back and they are more forgiving.

I'm having trouble finding an argentine tegu for sale, I can only find the columbian tegus, and the occasional red. Even companies that ship only have columbians. There are no places in MY ENTIRE state that I could find that sell Tegu's so online is my only option. If anyone knows any breeders in Illinois that would be great!

I agree with the other person. Many savannah monitors die at young ages due to improper husbandry and also are more aggressive. I know someone who had to get rid of theirs because it got to a point where their savannah would always try to attack, if you have ever seen one eat they get pretty aggressive around food too. I would recommend one of the other two before a savannah.
As for tegu breeders, I'm getting my tegu shipped in from another state. Here where I live there are absolutely none around at all. Babies are just starting to hatch and are going to be ready around the end of summer, so there aren't a ton around as of yet. I'd look online and find a breeder, try craigslist or something similar to see if any are being rehomed near you, or if you want try going to a reptile expo. Although I wouldn't always trust where they are from, many imported animals are brought to expos.
 

Dana C

Member
Messages
633
Once again it is a mistake to lump all monitors together in terms of how hard or easy they are to keep.
 

james.w

Active Member
1,000+ Post Club
5 Year Member
Messages
4,337
All monitors require an experienced keeper. Some are easier than others to keep but none are beginner reptiles.
 

MGHDanielle

New Member
Messages
2
Ackie Monitor

I have had my boy, Ozzy for a year and 8 months. He lives in an Ackie Palace, his temps are pitch perfect, loves his housie. I would like to know how I can diversify his diet. Currently he chows crickets, roaches, Superworms. I think he gets bored with these food items. What else can I offer him that would be healthy?
ImageUploadedByTapatalk1409690933.504637.jpg
ImageUploadedByTapatalk1409690988.367084.jpg
 
Messages
148
an 8x4x4 is too big for ackies. i had a pair and they were in a 5x2x2 and there were times where they would get stressed. most people reccomend a 4x2x2 for one or a pair. and savs can be tamed down and make amazing pets but tegus are a little bitter all around in my opinoin when it comes down to especially temperment, ease, and hardiness.
 

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