Prepare for a somewhat long post, this has kind of been in the making in awhile and I'm going to try to get all my questions out at once
Hello! I am a new member to the forum. I mainly joined because I was sick of hearing so many different opinions on the proper care of the Savannah Monitor Lizard. I have a "second-hand" Savannah Monitor which was pretty well cared for in its past owner's care except for the fact that it got lost in their rather large (actually, it's a mansion, lol) house. The lizard, Brewster, was gone for about two months and I think this is one of the reasons why he/she didn't grow much until getting in my care. Brewster is about 2.5 years old.
Now, to my questions - I am hoping experienced monitor owner can answer these with solid advice.
1. Live or pre-killed, frozen mice? I went to one pet store, and the reptile person told me to only feed him frozen. Then, another woman who was the "top reptile adviser," told me that if the mice are frozen they will lose the majority of the nutrients in the freezing process.
(Just to note, I do mix up my monitor's diet. The past owners fed him a lot of shrimp for some reason and he really does enjoy that, so he gets that on occasion. I also have fed him snails from my non-pesticide garden, eggs, and a few table scraps here and there such as chicken pieces... if you have any suggestions of different things to try let me know)
2. What type of substrate is best? I was using sand, from the beach because the original owners told me that it was the best. I know that sand gets into their system sometimes when they are fed in the cage. The reptile adviser #1 told me to get the mulch-like cypress from Petsmart. I did so about two weeks ago and now my monitor's skin has kind of faded into a ever-so-slight reddish tint. It does worry me, however because my monitor is messy
^_^ and likes to play in the water so a patch of mulch gets soaked. This usually occurs while I'm at school so the wet mulch has the opportunity to sit there for up to 8 hours (school day.)
3. When a monitor is going to shed it's skin, does it begin to somewhat turn white? There are a few patches of slight white on the side of his/her head. Is this something I need to worry about?
4. I have seen that feeding a monitor that is slender dog food on occasion is reasonable if they are under 3 years old. Does anyone have something to say about this? I feel as if my monitor is too tiny. Should I try calcium powder?
This is my first carnivorous lizard, so any / all advice is appreciated. I have looked at books and many resources, and asked many people and I am getting completely mixed results. Lizard gurus please help me out