Keeping Up with the Ackie: A Guide to Proper Monitor Care

In the world of reptile enthusiasts, the Ackie Monitor, also known as the spiny-tailed monitor, holds a special place. These Australian natives are known for their vibrant personalities and unique looks. But, like any pet, they require specific care to thrive. Let's dive into the fascinating world of Ackie Monitors and how to keep them happy and healthy.

Understanding the Ackie Monitor

Ackie Monitors are a type of varanid lizard, which means they are part of the same family as the famous Komodo Dragon. But don't worry, they won't grow to be as large. In fact, Ackies are considered a dwarf monitor species, typically reaching lengths of 24 to 28 inches.

These reptiles are known for their distinctive appearance. They have a long, slender body, a spiny tail (hence the name), and a head that looks a bit like a tiny dinosaur's. Their coloration ranges from a rich, reddish-brown to a bright, sunny yellow.

But it's not just their looks that make Ackies popular. They are also known for their active, inquisitive nature. These are not the kind of pets that just sit around all day. They love to explore, dig, and climb. This means that they need an environment that can cater to these behaviors.

The Ideal Ackie Environment

Creating the right environment for your Ackie is crucial for its health and happiness. This involves setting up a suitable enclosure, providing the right temperature and humidity, and offering plenty of opportunities for natural behaviors.


The enclosure for an Ackie Monitor should be as large as possible. A minimum size for an adult is 4 feet long, 2 feet wide, and 2 feet high. This gives them enough room to move around and exhibit their natural behaviors. The enclosure should also be secure to prevent any escape attempts.

Inside the enclosure, you should provide plenty of hiding spots and climbing opportunities. This can be achieved with rocks, logs, and branches. The substrate should be deep enough for burrowing, as Ackies love to dig. A mixture of sand and soil works well.

Temperature and Humidity

Ackies come from a hot, dry environment, so they need a high temperature in their enclosure. The basking spot should reach temperatures of 120 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit, while the cooler end of the enclosure should be around 80 degrees. Nighttime temperatures can drop to around 70 degrees.

Humidity should be kept relatively low, around 30 to 40 percent. However, it's a good idea to provide a humid hide, where the humidity is higher, to aid in shedding.

Feeding Your Ackie

Ackie Monitors are carnivores, which means they eat a diet primarily composed of meat. In the wild, they eat a variety of insects, small mammals, and even other reptiles. In captivity, they can be fed a diet of feeder insects, like crickets and mealworms, as well as occasional servings of small rodents.

It's important to dust the food with a calcium supplement to ensure your Ackie is getting the necessary nutrients. Juveniles should be fed daily, while adults can be fed every other day.

Common Health Issues

Like any pet, Ackie Monitors can suffer from a variety of health issues. Some of the most common include metabolic bone disease, caused by a lack of calcium in the diet, and respiratory infections, often due to incorrect humidity levels.

Regular vet check-ups are important to catch any potential issues early. It's also crucial to monitor your Ackie's behavior and appearance for any changes that could indicate a problem.


How long do Ackie Monitors live?

With proper care, Ackie Monitors can live for 15 to 20 years in captivity.

Are Ackie Monitors good pets?

Ackie Monitors can make great pets for the right person. They are active and engaging, but they do require a lot of care and a large enclosure. They are best suited to experienced reptile keepers.

Do Ackie Monitors like to be handled?

While they can tolerate handling, Ackie Monitors are not particularly fond of it. They are more interested in exploring their environment than cuddling with their owners.


Keeping an Ackie Monitor is a big commitment, but it can also be a rewarding experience. These fascinating creatures are a joy to watch and can make a great addition to the right home. Just remember, like any pet, they require time, effort, and a lot of love.

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