The Other Monitor Lizards
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Little Nessie, Spike, and Spencer

Little Nessie was purchased in March 1999, from Smitty's Pets in Lake Elsinore, California.
He was about 5 months old and almost 2 feet long. He has not been weighed since we purchased
him, but from all indications, he's very healthy.

We came upon Spike, a female ornate, quite by accident. On November 6, 1999, we took Nessie
along with us to a Reptile Show in Ontario, California, and while babysitting Nessie in the parking
lot (since we couldn't take him into the show), this guy (Steve) and his son walked by and upon
noticing Nessie, started talking about a female ornate he had that he wanted Nessie to meet.
We followed him home after leaving the show, and by that evening, we had packed Spike, his
female, along with Nessie, into the car and drove on home. In comparison, it was obvious Nessie
was much too large for Spike, however, Little Nessie, the male ornate we left at home, would make
a more suitable match for Spike.

LITTLE NESSIE, Another Ornate

Snails are good, but slimy

Building an Outdoor Enclosure

Bruce built this enclosure with 4'X4' framed window glass panes. There are three in the front (including the door) and in the back, and two each on the sides, thus making the cage over 12' by 8' and 4' high. Metal sheet grating was added to two-thirds of the base to allow low ground ventilation and water seepage. Cement was poured all along the base for support and to discourage digging. A webbed-cloth awning was added for shading. A water misting line was added in May 2000, to cool down the rising temperature within the enclosure.

Pond in the Enclosure

This pond is your typical store bought fiqure 8 pond with a biological-filtered pump circulating the water and spouting it out through a hose. The ground was dug up to bury the pond and then large rocks were placed around it to discourage digging. There are three large rocks in it to weigh down the pond so the monitors won't dig under the pond. We buried a couple of potted plants in the enclosure to offer shade in addition to the webbed awning.

SPIKE, the Female Ornate on Loan


These two ornates, Little Nessie, the male (above), and Spike, the "loaner" female(below), are sharing the outdoor enclosure for the second time in two years. Copulation was witnessed on Feb. 24, 2001, but as of Apr. 3, there have been no signs of egg laying.
UPDATE: Spike was found dead, April 8, 2001, laying on her log in the outside enclosure. On April 11, Dr. Geek performed an autopsy and concluded that death was caused by Spike being egg-bound. Due to the cold weather spell we had experienced recently, Spike was unable to dig a suitable hole to deposit her eggs and thus the fatal outcome. She will be missed terribly. She was such a sweet and beautiful ornate, never hissing, whipping, or biting us ever. I am only so thankful that she lives on through her babies from her first laying.

Spike and Little Nessie were successful in mating last year, producing a clutch of 19 fertile eggs that brought forth 20 live hatchlings. The last egg, that hatched, contained twins that we named, T1 and T2, respectively.

SPENCER, a Common Nile

Spencer was purchased from Strictly Reptiles in August 1995 when he was already 18" long and meaner than a junkyard dog. The store manager called him Satan and wouldn't even reach in his enclosure to retrieve him. Kathy reached in and got him.

Here he is over 3' long, taken on 9/14/99

Here is Bruce and Spencer, picture taken on 12/3/96


Spencer was found dead November 2, 1999, in our backyard after a two week disappearance from the enclosure. Nessie probably found him and killed him, since Nessie had been in the backyard all day. It saddens us deeply to have found him this way, but we thought he was long gone, two weeks prior, when he escaped. He will be remembered and missed.