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MLA Full: "Meet and Greet: Sampson The Savannah Monitor." YouTube, uploaded by Animal Wonders Montana, 2 March 2018,
MLA Inline: (Animal Wonders Montana, 2018)
APA Full: Animal Wonders Montana. (2018, March 2). Meet and Greet: Sampson The Savannah Monitor [Video]. YouTube.
APA Inline: (Animal Wonders Montana, 2018)
Chicago Full: Animal Wonders Montana, "Meet and Greet: Sampson The Savannah Monitor.", March 2, 2018, YouTube, 06:18,
Jessi introduces Sampson the Savannah Monitor and explains why he came to AW, what she's working on with him, and plans for the future.

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Hi guys.  I'm Jessi and this is Animal Wonders, where we rescue displaced exotic animals, give them a lifelong home, and allow them to become ambassadors for their species through live public presentations.  We rescued a new animal a few months ago and I have yet to introduce you to him, but before I do, I'd like to thank all of you who are part of the Animal Wonders community.  We have, hands down, the nicest YouTube comments section, and if you haven't visited it, please do, because it's fun and it makes my heart happy to see nothing but friendly people.  So to keep the happy feelings going, let's meet our newest scaly friend.


This is Sampson the Savannah monitor, also known as a bosc monitor.  He's coming up on a year old and we know that because his original owner purchased him from a pet store in early 2017.  After just a few months with his original owner, he was re-homed to a temporary foster home.  In November 2017, they contacted us asking if we could take him in. 

Savannah monitors are pretty common in the pet trade, because they're easy to find for sale and they're fairly cheap.  This combination leads to a lot of impulse purchases.  It's never a good idea to buy an animal if you haven't taken a lot of time to research them and know exactly what you're getting into.  Impulse purchases lead to many Savannah monitors living in poor conditions and suffering, and also so many of them end up in rescues or re-homed multiple times.

The week we adopted Sampson, we were also asked to take in two other large lizards that we had to turn away.  I really wish we could rescue them all, but we just don't have the space.  Since Sampson is still pretty small, he can be housed in a forty gallon breeder terrarium, but as he grows up, he'll need more and more space.  We'll adjust the care we provide him at his pace.

Let's go take a look at Sampson's current home.  Alright, here it is down here.  He really enjoys burrowing so I've made the substrate really deep so he can really get down into.  His favorite spot is his bark tunnel.  He likes to hang out under it or wedge between it and the wall and he just--that's his favorite spot, and during the peak hours of the day when his basking spotlight comes on, he likes to lounge on top of his tunnel to soak up the heat.

Savannah monitors need to get up to at least 120 degrees Fahrenheit in order to digest their food and grow properly, so it's really important that he has that really hot spot so he can move into it when he chooses.  We've also provided a cooler side with live and fake plants so he can  climb or hide whenever he wants.  His water dish is just large enough and you can actually see he's been climbing in it, so it's nice and dirty, but it's large enough for him to crawl into and soak.  He likes to poop in his water, which I guess is nice.  I can see exactly where it is and clean it up pretty easy, but even though Sampson has a water dish, he gets mandatory soaks twice a week and this is to make sure his scales are getting nice and loose so he can shed properly.

Since he's growing so fast, he's shedding on some part of his body almost constantly.  It's actually his soaking day today, so I'm gonna show you how I do it.  Sampson is small enough that he fits easily into our sink and the walls are nice and high so he can't climb out, and then I let him sit for about 10-15 minutes.  Once he's done soaking, I'm going to rub him down a little bit to help him get off some of the shedding scales.  This is a great time for bonding.  I know, buddy.

Savannah monitors are quite smart and they need to learn to trust you or they can become very defensive when you come around.  They have strong jaws and sharp teeth and it's best to avoid being bitten.  Making sure Sampson gets one on one attention and hands-on interaction at this young age will help ensure he's calm and relaxed around humans when he's an adult.

Speaking of being calm and relaxed, I'm also teaching Sampson how to wear a harness.  This is a harness that's specifically made for lizards.  It's not super easy to manage, but what I like about it is that it doesn't have any bulky clips that end up in their armpit that can be pretty uncomfortable.  So what I have to do is get his head through both sections.  I know, buddy, that is not your favorite.  What am I doing to you, huh?  Don't bite me.  I know.  Alright, and then I have to get his arms just past the first layer.  I know, bud.  You can see how it's not--it's not quick but it's--he's so small, it's just hard to find a harness that actually fits him when they're this small and this one, you can make it just to his size.  Alright, there we go.  See, nice and snug.

I don't use this harness like you might see some people using them to walk a dog.  He moves pretty slow so I don't really have to pull on him at all.  Basically what I'm teaching him is that it's not scary and it's perfectly normal to walk on a harness.  In a couple months, Sampson will start coming out to public presentations and my goal is to have him wear a harness so the kids who meet him can see him move around naturally.  It's such a different experience seeing an animal held in the hands or arms of a human versus seeing them moving around on their own.  I want the audience to see him walk with his big clawed feet and see the sway of his body and tail.

Our mission is to rescue animals and then share them with others so we can spread understanding and respect for these amazing species.  When you meet an animal like Sampson face to face and get to see him up close, look into his eyes, and see his presence, you get this connection to him and it changes the way that you think about reptiles.  He's a unique individual and I feel so privileged to know him.

Alright, Sampson, let's get you back home so you can bask in your hot spot.  There you go, bud.  Right up on there.  Nice.  Thank you guys for joining me on this adventure.  I hope you enjoyed meeting Sampson and if you'd like to go on an adventure with us every week, subscribe to our YouTube channel, AnimalWondersMontana.  Thanks, guys.