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Name: The Pygmy Mulga Monitor owes it's common name to it's small stature and occasional occupancy of hollows in Mulga trees in it's native range. it's scientifict name is Varanus gilleni. The species name is in honor of Australian anthropologist Francis James Gillen.
Recommended Enclosure Size: A single adult animal should be kept in at least a 24x24x36 enclosure. Pairs have been successfully kept and bred in this size as well, but a bioactive setup with live plants is strongly recommended for this species; BioBedding is recommended to maintain live plants, springtails, and isopods. These monitors love to climb, and should be provided plenty of hiding spots along with ample horizontal and vertical climbing material. Large cork bark flats and tubes, live oak, manzanita, and other branches will all be appreciated by this very active species.
Temperature: Keep Pygmy Mulga Monitors between 80-85 F. A basking spot of around 140-150 F should be provided - they need it HOT! Temperature should be monitored with a digital thermometer, and hot spot can be checked with an infrared thermometer or temperature gun. Night temperatures should not fall below 65 F. These diurnal lizards should also be provided with a 10.0 or similar strength UVB light..
Humidity: Although Pygmy Mulga Monitors live in arid regions, they spend a lot of their time in humid microclimates. Ideal ambient humidity in the enclosure is higher than other arid species at around 50-65%, but can remain around 40-50% provided humid microclimates are accessible (i.e. deep substrate). A humid hide can be provided, but the best humid hide is to provide deep burrowing substrate. It is not recommended to sacrifice ventilation to increase humidity within the enclosure. These monitors should be misted around three to four times a week to raise humidity and moisten the substrate. A water dish is recommended, but will not take away the need for regular misting.
Size: Pygmy Mulga Monitors are a long and slender lizard. As adults, they can range between 14-18 inches long with tails. Hatchlings are around 3 to 4 inches.
Age: Pygmy Mulga Monitors are at least 6 weeks old when sold by Josh’s Frogs, at which time they are well established. It is estimated that these dwarf monitors live for around 20 years in captivity..
Feeding: Pygmy Mulga Monitors are carnivores. In captivity, they will thrive on a diet of daily feeder insects, such as crickets, dubia roaches, waxworms, and black soldier fly larvae.. Feeder insects should be gutloaded and dusted with a calcium and multivitamin supplement. They can be fed the occasional whole prey item, such as small rodents.
Sexing: Pygmy Mulga Monitors are difficult to sex. Both sexes exhibit enlarged scales beneath the vent, although these appear larger in males. Males tend to have a thicker neck and wider head.
Color/Pattern:: These are really neat, low key looking monitors. Marked by a muted palet of gray and tan (sometimes almost orangish), with banding that fades as the animal ages.
Social Behavior:: This lizard species is best housed individually, or as 1.1 pairs or 1.X harems. Do not house multiple mature males together. They are fine being raised in groups as babies.
Breeding: Varanus gilleni will typically breed through the spring and summer months, providing multiple clutches per year, with clutch sizes ranging anywhere from 2-8 eggs. Brumation is not always necessary but will help cycle the monitors.
Natural Range: Pygmy Mulga Monitors are native to Northwestern and Central Australia.
History in the Hobby:: As an Australian species, only captive bred individuals are available in the US. While they remain fairly uncommon in the trade, dwarf monitors are becoming more and more popular every year--and for good reason!
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