Ackie Monitor

By Snaketracks / December 16, 2019
Ackie Monitor
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Ackie Monitor Lizard Care Sheet

Enjoying great popularity among reptile owners, the Ackie monitor lizard is a great choice for an exotic pet. If you’re contemplating on getting a reptile for a pet, the Ackie monitor may be a wise choice.

Attractive in colors, moderate-sized, and it is also very active and inquisitive, making it a greatly interesting and entertaining pet to care for in your home. Ackie monitor care is also not that complicated. Read on to find more about the Ackie Monitor and how to properly care for one.

Quick Reference Section

  • Experience level: Beginner to Advanced
  • Family: Varanidae
  • Scientific name: Varanus acanthurus
  • Average adult size: 24 to 48 inches (2 to 4 feet)
  • Lifespan: 15 to 20 years
  • Clutch Size:  7 to 10 eggs and up to 6 clutches per breeding season
  • Egg Incubation Period: 12 to 15 weeks
  • Food: mice, crickets, cockroaches, mealworms
  • Average Temperature: Between 18°C to 27°C
  • Humidity: 60 to 85%
  • UVB lighting: Highly Recommended
  • Average price range: $250 – $400
  • Conservation Status: Not listed

Ackie Monitor Facts

Ackie Monitor on branch
Ackie Monitor on branch

The scientific name of the Ackies Monitor is Varnus acanthurus but it comes by several other names. It is also called as a ridge-tailed monitor, spiny-tailed monitor, or Ackies dwarf monitor.

These belong to the Family- Varanidae and Genus- Varanus.  The distribution area is around Australia. You can find these intriguing lizard species roaming the scrubland and arid areas of Western Australia, parts of Queensland, and Northern Territory.

For a pet, you can choose between a yellow Ackie monitor or a red Ackie monitor. They are very colorful. The shades run from yellowish to cream or dark brown to reddish. The patterns come in spots and stripes at the same time. They are indeed exotic and a great work of art.

The red Ackie monitor comes from the west while the yellow Ackie monitor comes from the east. Red Ackies are usually longer-tailed compared with the yellow Ackies. Red Ackies also grow bigger on average. They also have a unique cross and spotted head pattern.

Compared with a huge 10-foot Komodo dragon, these can indeed be called dwarf monitors. But they’re not really that small. You can spot 4-feet Ackie monitors with tails that are at least 1 1/3 the size of their total body length.

Ackie Monitor Habitat

Ackie monitors love the humidity. You can find a yellow or red Ackie monitor hiding in humid burrows to take shelter from the hot temperatures of Australia. They also retreat into crevices for safety. They wedge themselves between rocks with ease.


Because of their active nature, your Ackie monitor needs a good amount of room. Prepare an enclosure that is wide enough for your reptile pet to roam or explore and to hunt and burrow.

A tall cage is good for them because you need to provide space for a deep substrate where they can burrow in. A basic guide would be to have an enclosure that is at least 2x the length of your pet Ackie monitor.

A lot find that the size of 24 by 36 inches is comfortable enough for an average-sized Ackie monitor. However, if you want to shower your Ackie monitor with a larger space, that would even be better. Custom-made cages or terrariums are available.


Daily cleaning helps keep the enclosure free from bacteria, preventing disease and foul odor. Soap and hot water may be sufficient for routine cleaning. If there are tough spots and strong odor, you may need to use a specialized cleaning formula.

Have a toothbrush or scraper handy to help you clear the enclosure of debris and hardened dirt and feces. Always wash the accessories to remove waste and dirt build-up.


Choose a substrate that’s moist and thick, such as bark or cypress chip beddings, coconut beddings, and the like. Make your Ackie monitor feel right at home by setting up a deep substrate to make it easy for them to burrow in.

Maintaining a deep substrate also allows your pet reptile to choose how hot or cold it wants to feel. Deeper layers will be cooler while basking on top will give the warmth it needs. Mix in some soil or sand for bedding. This will make digging easier for your pet Ackie.

Temperature and Humidity

You need to prioritize hydration. It is key to your pet Ackie monitor’s health and survival. Having a fresh water bowl in the enclosure helps with that.

Your pet lizard can drink from and even soak in it. It also helps with humidity inside the enclosure. Further, you can mist the cage in the morning and afternoon to keep moisture levels. You should also keep the burrows moist since Ackie monitors love moist hideouts.

Maintain proper temperature by installing a heater as well as a thermostat that regulates the temperature. Doing this helps you control the environment and gives it a consistent temperature even during extreme heat or cold. With a thermostat installed, it won’t get too hot nor too cold. Keep temperatures no hotter than 27°C or 80°F and no colder than 18°C or 65°F.


Your pet Ackie is a cold-blooded reptile so lighting is quite essential. It loves basking in the warmth and light of the sun. Having UVB lighting will meet that need. The UVB rays not only provides warmth, it also helps with the formation of Vitamin D3. You can schedule the lighting on 12-hour on and off cycle.


Replicate the Ackie monitor’s natural surroundings by accessorizing its enclosure with familiar furnishing. Put in some wood planks, half logs, caves, moss beddings, fake plants, and more. Your pet reptile will enjoy exploring and hiding among them.

Ackie Monitor Feeding

The red or yellow Ackie monitor feed on a variety of foods. Their diet includes crickets, mice, mealworms, cockroaches, and mealworms. You can serve them canned food too.

They will also feed on snails and shrimp. You can treat your pet Ackie with chicken eggs or quail eggs. Whole but small prey food is what experts mostly recommend. Mice and rodents are advisable when your pet monitor lizard is already weaned.

It is not healthy to overfeed your pet Ackie monitor so don’t ration out food excessively. Avoid giving young monitor lizards large prey since they cannot swallow that well yet.

Schedule giving your active pet lizard live insects for food. They’d be happy to run around and burn some energy as they go on a hunt. Moderate-sized feeding may be done daily since Ackies are highly active and tend to metabolize food quickly.

Temperament and Handling

Ackies monitors are naturally curious and have good temperaments in general. However, they may need time to adjust to and feel comfortable with their new surroundings.

They may be flighty in the beginning so allow your pet reptile to get settled first in the enclosure before you start handling it. Establish the trust with regular feeding and a safe environment, then begin to handle your Ackie monitor for just a few minutes in a day.

It’s important not to spook or make it feel insecure as this can be stressful for your Ackie monitor lizard. Over time, you’ll find that these are quite gentle reptiles.


With proper care and housing, the Ackie monitor can live between 15 and 20 years. Pet owners should ensure a controlled environment with appropriate temperature and humidity levels. Making sure of that promotes a safe, healthy, and long life for your red or yellow Ackie monitor.

Common Health Concerns (Issues/Solutions)

A health concern for captive red or yellow Ackie monitors is Degenerative Bone Disease. That’s why UVB lighting is recommended by many experts plus calcium supplementation.

Pricing and Availability

Breeders have great successes in breeding Ackie monitor lizards. They are available outside of Australia. Europe is known to have breeders selling captive bred Ackies since the 90s.

Prices vary. It may cost you anywhere between $250 to $400 depending on the source and the season. A red Ackie monitor may cost you more since they can be larger with longer tails compared to yellow ones. Check vets and reputable breeders for purchase information in your particular area.


There is currently no threat nor any conservation concerns for Ackie monitors. Successful captive breeding has decreased the need for traders and pet collectors to hunt them in the wild.

Final Words

The Ackie monitor makes a best pet for the experienced handler, and if you get them young, the adjustment and bonding period tends to be shorter. To avoid stressing your pet monitor lizard, remember to keep handling times few and short especially after your pet Ackie has newly arrived. Most grow up friendly, tame, and playful with proper care.

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