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Tegu care sheet!!

Written By Varnyard;

Care sheet for the Tegu. Note some species will differ some on requirements.
This care sheet will be for four of the common species available in the pet trade.

Hatchling tegus will all take the same food up until about one year in age. Of these the Tupinambis merianae, Common name (Argentine Black and White), (Giant Tegu) And the Tupinambis rufescens, Common name (Argentine red Tegu), (Red tegu) will change feeding habits.
The Blue Tegu (It is said to be Tupinambis teguixin, but the classification has not been scientifically determined.) And the Tupinambis teguixin, Common name (Colombian Black and White), or (Gold Tegu) Will stay on a carnivorous diet throughout their life.

Food:
All Tegus are carnivores as hatchlings, which means they only eat meat. Crickets dusted with vitamins dust , Captive raised roaches, Mealworms, Super mealworms, ground turkey dusted with vitamin dust, Pinkie mice and cooked egg (Not raw) scrambled or hard boiled.
Please remember to remove any food that is not eaten right after your tegu has eaten his/her fill. Insects are well known for stressing reptiles. This also will help keep their cage cleaner.
Adult tegus, For the Argentine Black and White and the Argentine red Tegu. They will take ground turkey, cooked egg (Not raw) scrambled or hard boiled, rodents, fresh fish (Not from a pet shop, due to the chemicals used in these tanks), baby chickens, grapes, tomatoes, strawberries, melons, and just about any other soft fruit. Bananas can be given as well, but not as a staple diet, only in moderation. This is due to the high content of potassium (Known for not binding with calcium). Not more than once every couple of weeks. They also tend to have a very high phosphorous levels.
The Blue Tegu, and the Colombian Black and White, or (Gold Tegu) will take all of the above, except fruit. Also I suggest feeding only killed rodents. Live rodents can bite your animal. Dead do not, it is just not worth the chance.
My choice of vitamin dust is Herpitive or Fluker's.
A side note on feeding: Tegus can get cage aggressive. They can get to where they will associate their keeper with food. There are a couple of ways to keep this from happening. The first is to feed your tegu in a separate cage or area than his home. Have the food there when you put him with it.
Another way, would be to feed him at night or when he is in his hide. Then he will not see you with food. The first suggestion is the best for a few reasons. One you handle him every day, which helps with the taming process. Another reason would be to remove all chances of him ingesting substrate. And last, but not least, the food would be fresher than feeding at night.

Water:
Tegus require fresh water on a daily basis. It also would be recommended that their water dishes/bowls be big enough to soak in.

Housing:
Hatchlings will do great in a 20 long tank, but they will outgrow these fast. As an adult they require a much larger enclosure. I house mine outside in a 8 ft x 8 ft enclosure. Inside I use a 400 gallon showcase. If building your own cage, remember that these lizards are terrestrial (ground dwelling), So height would not be a necessity. I recommend at least a 6 feet long, 3 feet wide and 3 feet high.

Humidity:
Tegus require high humidity level 60%-70% for proper shedding as well as proper health. Misting on a daily basis is required. If you have another way to raise the humidity, that is fine. Remember not to have the substrate tacky.

Substrate:
I recommend using cypress mulch, orchid bark, Lizard litter, Repti-bark or eucalyptus mulch. These should not be dusty dry or wet. You can mist them a little to keep the dust down, this will also raise the humidity. Make sure it is not tacky, as to stick to their feet. Also your tegu needs to be fed where he will not ingest these substrates. You do not want him to have a intestinal blockage.

Lighting:
Ultraviolet light with a full-spectrum of light is recommended. Lights that emit UVB is a must for this species of reptile. Ultraviolet lighting is important in the production of vitamin D3, which is necessary for calcium metabolism. There are some people that claim added vitamins of D3 would be a good substitute, however I do not. Tegus can and will have health problems due to the lack of UV lighting. I do use multi-vitamin dust. But I do not depend on it for a substitute for UV lighting.

Hibernation:
Tegus hibernate up to seven months in the wild. They will also do this in captivity if given the chance. However, tegus do not have to hibernate. If they do not hibernate, they may still slow down on feeding during the normal hibernating season. Note the Argentine species are the only ones to do this that I know of. The Colombians are not known to hibernate.
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