Varanus exanthematicus savannah monitor
steppen Origin: In the savannah of Africa

Length: 70 to 110 centimeters

Weight: 6 to 10 kilograms

Age: up to 15 years

This lizard is easy to distinguish from other species. Namely, unlike other lizards, has a flattened head and a relatively thick and short tail. They are colored brown-gray and the body is covered with reddish spots. There is a series of light brown bands on the tail.


Experience: experienced reptile owner

Food: Mice, rats, rabbits, chicks, eggs, insects and cat food (not too much)

Adult feeding: Several times a week.

Feed young: Feed present at all times

Water basin: Yes

Change water: daily


The steppe dragon is an opportunistic robber, this means that he will also try to catch all the prey he can take. Their diet can therefore be quite varied. It is advisable to let the basis of their diet consist of insects such as morio, mealworms and crickets. You can supplement this with eggs, worms and lean meat (chicken or turkey). From time to time you could spoil your steppe dragon with a chick or mouse. Please note that due to their opportunistic robbery behavior, they can quickly eat too much and therefore suffer from obesity. Therefore, weigh your steppe dragon regularly and adjust the diet to the weight of your animal.

In captivity, the diet usually contains less calcium than in the wild. This is because they also get bones and eggshells in the wild. To make sure they meet this need in captivity, you can give them calcium supplements with their diet.


The steppe dragon is a true lover of water, they will need enough water at all times. Also make sure that the water basin is large enough that the lizard can be in it, because they sometimes want to bathe.


Like the hungry eaters they are, they also relieve. For this reason, it is advisable to remove the faeces from the accommodation on a daily basis and to remove the dirty soil cover once a week. In addition, it is advisable to thoroughly clean the entire stay a few times a year, thereby preventing the accumulation of germs and bacteria.


varanus are easy animals to handle. This is because they are very tame and can easily get used to handling with time. If you handle the varanus pick it up by gently sliding your hands under his body. Support the lower body and lift it off the ground. Hold one thumb on its back during handling so that it cannot run away easily. While handling it is advisable to keep it above your lap or above a table. This prevents that if the bearded dragon falls it is from a height that is too large. Finally, it is advisable to wash your hands before and after handling. This prevents the bearded dragon and yourself from getting sick.


Minimum size of stay for this animal: 200 * 100 * 80

Surface area: 2 m2 per bearded dragon

Day temperature: 25-35C

Night temperature: 20C

Hours of light: 12 hours

Humidity level: 50% or lower

Ground cover: Sandy soil or potting soil


The steppe varans have a varied behavior. To meet this behavior, they also need a varied terrarium. They love to dig and sometimes want to dig caves themselves. To allow them this, the ground cover must have at least a layer of 25 cm, but more is always better. Make sure that heavy objects are positioned correctly on the bottom of the terrarium and not on the ground cover. If a hole collapses, nothing should fall on the animal. In addition, the animals love climbing. They do this on climbing branches, but a few large stones are also sufficient for a steppe dragon. In addition, it is advisable to lay down a few large pieces of bark, below they will hide and cool off. Finally, the steppe varans need a place to warm up. Such a warming place can be a spot that shines on a flat stone or branch. Under the spot it can be a temperature of up to 40c. Please note that the temperature must not exceed it.


UV light is not an obligation for steppe varans, but it is advisable. They get a part of their vitamin D from the diet. Now it is possible that they do not get enough vitamin D from the diet and then a UV lamp is a nice addition.


Diet: Carnivore

Lifestyle: Testrial & daily activity


Steppe varans are calm animals that can become very active when food or enrichment is involved.

Points of attention

Steppe varans are territorial animals and two men can fight each other to death in a residence. Therefore, never hold two men together if you do not know the animals and do not know that things are going well. In addition, steppe varans can play in common. Therefore never leave them alone with children or pets.

Costs and Purchase

Legislation: The steppe dragon falls under CITES II, to own this reptile you need CITES or transfer papers. You should get this when purchasing.

One-off costs: This includes the costs for accommodation, lighting, heating, water bowl and decoration. This can together cost a few hundred euros to a few thousand euros. Depends on the quality and size of the products.

Fixed costs: Fixed costs include the costs for the feed, which is a few tens of euros per year.

Unexpected costs: Costs have been incurred if your steppe dragon accidentally falls ill or your equipment breaks down.