Ackie monitors are a type of lizard originating from the Northern part of Australia. This member of the reptilian family is usually found in rocky and arid regions where you’ll find lots of rocks, boulders, and spinifex grass.
Also known as ridgetail monitor, this lizard is usually slender with a long whiplike tail, a narrow snout, a snakelike tongue, and short legs. You’ll predominantly see them in two colors: black-brown or red-brown. While the head-to-neck region has a striped pattern, the tail has a spiny pattern of light and dark circles. The remaining upper part of the body has spots of either red or yellow shades.
Ackie monitors make up for great pets for lizard keepers. If you plan to get one but don’t know how to care for one, you’ve arrived at the right place. In this Ackie monitor care guide, we’ll discuss what you need, the environmental requirements, the behavioral patterns of Ackie monitors, and more. Let’s get right to it.
Things You Need to Care for an Ackie Monitor
- Custom Reptile Habitats 5’ x 2.5’ x 4’ enclosure with 24″ substrate barrier (or larger)
- 34″ Arcadia Desert 12% UVB
- 36″ Vivarium Electronics T5 HO Fixture
- Arcadia Jungle Dawn LED Bar, x2
- Philips 100w PAR38 Halogen Heat Lamp Bulb, x2
- Zoo Med Combo Deep Dome Dual Lamp Fixture
- Lutron Credenza Plug-In Lamp Dimmer, x2
- Etekcity 774 Infrared Thermometer
- Flagstones or paver stones
- 2″ x 2″ wood spacers
- Zilla 24/7 Digital Power Center
- Shower Head Watering Can
- Sand, 25 cubic feet
- Exo Terra Worm Dish, medium
- Exo Terra Water Bowl, medium
- Repashy Calcium Plus LoD supplement
- Zoo Med Angled Stainless Steel Feeding Tongs
Besides these, you must also get a few decorative items such as hollow rocks, cork logs, branches, artificial plants, backdrops, live drought-tolerant plants, and ledges.
Reptile Enclosure Guide
The minimum size as prescribed above is 5 ft in length, 2.5 ft. in width, and 4 ft. in height. These are standard numbers based on the average Ackie monitor size. Besides this, the substrate layer must be at least 24 inches high. You can buy the enclosure or create your own with the suitable materials. Before buying or building an enclosure, you need to consider a few basic things.
- There must be enough space for the Ackie monitor to exercise its body.
- There must be enough floor space to move whenever the Ackie monitor wants.
- There must be enough height for the Ackie monitor to climb on logs or ledges as and when they please.
- The enclosure must be large enough to have a temperature gradient.
- The substrate level should be deep for the animal to comfortably go inside.
Besides this, there must be enough ventilation for the spiny-tailed monitor. This can either be with a screen top or other vent options. This way, the lizard is not trapped in an overwhelming amount of heat.
If you want multiple Ackie monitors, don’t pack them in a single enclosure, especially if they’re the minimum size. You must have enclosures that are much larger. Furthermore, Ackie monitors are not social creatures and don’t get along well, especially if they are of the same gender. So, as much as possible, do not keep more than one Ackie monitor in an enclosure.
Ackie Monitor Care Guide Of Lighting and UVB Guide
Lighting and UVB play important roles in the well-being of Ackie monitors. You mustn’t expose the Ackie monitor to constant light. Instead, it must replicate the day/night cycle of its habitat while ensuring it is in sync with the cycle in your region. This means that the light must be on for an average of 12 hours of the day. During winter months, this must increase to 13 hours; during summer months, this should decrease to 11 hours.
UVB is important because it helps the Ackie monitors create Vitamin D in their body. So, use a UVB light source from the prescribed materials. The light must be at least half the size of the enclosure and must be far from the basking area of the Ackie monitor. If there’s a mesh, the distance of the light source from the head must be 7 to 9 inches. If there’s no mesh, the distance must be 12 to 15 inches.
The enclosure must have three zones:
- Basking Area
- Warm Area
- Cool Area
Your basking area must be the largest, brightest, and the hottest. So besides your lighting and UVB sources, you also need heat sources to ensure the right amount of heat is received by the Ackie monitor for its well-being. For this, you can either use reptile-branded halogen flood heat bulbs or non-reptile-branded ones. The difference is that the latter is much bigger and may not fit in the enclosure, while the former is more expensive. You can also use an infrared lamp unit, but these would be the most expensive.
While choosing any heat source, you must consider the following:
- Does it produce enough infrared A, B, and C light?
- Is it proportionate to the enclosure dimensions?
- Does it have enough wattage to create the optimum heat for the Ackie monitor?
While fixing the heat source, it is ideal to have a dome lamp fixture with a ceramic socket. This will ensure that there’s no fire hazard. Furthermore, the Ackie monitor’s head shouldn’t touch the light or the heat source. Thus, have a mesh installed to prevent such issues. Another important note to remember is that the heat lamps produce less heat over time until the source dies down. So, constantly check the temperature of the different areas. The ideal temperature conditions for the enclosure are:
- Basking Area: 158-172°F / 70-78°C
- Warm Area: 84-100°F / 29-38°C
- Cool Area: 75-82°F / 24-28°C
Ackie Monitor Care Guide Of Humidity Guide
Humidity in your top level and the substrate levels are different. For the ambient humidity, it must be anywhere between 20% and 50%. During the day, it must range from 22% to 38%, and during night it must range from 30% to 47%. The substrate humidity must be anywhere between 80% to 100%. In the latter case, 80% is the bare minimum.
You can use tools such as a hygrometer or humidity monitors to check the humidity levels constantly. When it drops below the minimum level, you must re-moisten the enclosure. A good way to check the substrate’s humidity levels is to have a glass barrier to visually see the humidity levels. When it’s 90% or above, the condensation drops will form on the glass, and you don’t have to always look at the monitor.
Substrate materials can be found in the list above. Any substrate you take should be mixed with water and 20% clay to ensure it clumps and can readily be formed into a burrow. A good substrate height is 24 inches. However, if you’re falling short of budget, you can always go for substrate levels, which are a minimum of 12 inches for male Ackie monitors and 18 inches for female Ackie monitors. Besides this, the substrate must be replaced every 6 to 12 months without fail.
What to Feed an Ackie Monitor
Ackie monitors are carnivores that eat insects and occasionally lizards, too. When it comes to eating schedules, you must feed them based on their age. If it is less than 6 months old, you must feed it every day. If it is over 6 months, you must feed it every alternate day. If it is a female reproductive Ackie, you must feed it every day.
An Ackie’s diet must include insects, lizards, calcium, gut loading, and enough drinking water. The insects mustn’t be much larger than a lizard’s head. You can use:
If you’re feeding it lizard prey, you can use:
- Green Anoles
- Iguana Meat
- House Geckos
Use calcium powder and multivitamin supplements along with the insects or lizard prey so that the Ackie monitor gets a balanced diet. Also, don’t forget to have a water source whose depth is not more than the upper part of the Ackie’s height.
Tips to Handle an Ackie Monitor
If you’re handling a young Ackie monitor, you must ensure that you give them their space while maintaining regular contact. Enter the enclosure every day to perform some task, sit by the enclosure while doing your regular tasks, and even let them lick you and smell you on a regular basis. This way, they will get used to your presence and will not be threatened by you.
If you’re dealing with adult Ackie monitors, you must give them more space and let them come to you. Do not chase them or try to force yourself upon them. This would lead to them being scared of you. If they come to you, give them a quick pet or rub before letting them be. Overall, learn to give them their space as they are not social creatures. However, with time, they will get accustomed to you and even enjoy your bond/company.
Overall, these are all the things you need to know about Ackie monitors, their surroundings, and how you can tame one. Now that you’ve equipped yourself with all the necessary information go on out there and get yourself an Ackie monitor.