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Keep Your Furry Children’s Toys Away From Your Monitor Lizards

If you keep a savannah monitor, keep small furry toys of the Happy Meal variety away from them as a woman in England found out, her two-year-old savan

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If you keep a savannah monitor, keep small furry toys of the Happy Meal variety away from them as a woman in England found out, her two-year-old savannah monitor, (Varanus exanthematicus) which are called bosc monitors in England, mistook the toy as a food item.

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According to the Chronicle Live UK, Victoria Ord, 19,  was cleaning out her monitor’s enclosure and placed Keva on the floor with her Jack Russell terrier Paddy. Paddy was playing with the Happy Meal toy and launched it in the air and before it could hit the ground, Keva caught it in his jaws and ate it. Ord witnessed the whole event and grabbed the lizard and took him to a veterinarian, some 40 miles away. The vet at Robson and Prescott veterinary surgeons, Dr. Sam Prescott, performed a one hour surgery and successfully removed the toy.



Keva spent one week in the hospital and was sent home expected to make a full recovery.

“The toy is Paddy’s favorite and he is so playful he flipped it up in the air hoping that Keva would join in and play with him,” Ord told the paper. “Keva obviously saw it move quickly and Bosc monitors are used to catching food in the wild so he stretched up and grabbed it. He swallowed it down no problem at all. He didn’t have any breathing problems but I knew he would be unable to pass it so we had to get to the vets as soon as possible.”

Keva is back to his regular diet of scrambled eggs, mince meat and frozen thawed mice.


“Bosc monitors having a rapacious appetite and varied diet so mistaking a small furry toy for a small furry mouse was an easy mistake for Keva to make.” Prescott said.

“The soft toy caused an obstruction that would have killed him if not operated on quickly so it was a life and death situation. The anaesthetic was smooth and the surgery went very well.

“Keva has made an excellent recovery, but he has been very lucky as it was nearly a not­-so-­Happy Meal.”

Prescott told the paper that this was the second time he performed surgery on a lizard that had swallowed a child’s toy. A couple brought in a 10-month-old bearded dragon named Milo that ate a toy nerd dart and he successfully removed the toy.


John B. Virata keeps a ball python, two corn snakes, a king snake, and two leopard geckos. His first snake, a California kingsnake, was purchased at the Pet Place in Westminster, CA for $5. Follow him on Twitter @johnvirata