Care Sheet For Tegus

March 19, 2017

Care Sheet For Tegus

There are various species and subspecies of Tegus and a care sheet that will cover them all would not be practical in this case. Only a basic or general outline will be provided here so you can keep a Tegu in top shape. A Tegu can be a tough lizard to handle but with constant human interaction they can be domesticated and create a bond with the handler. Some consider the domesticated Tegu as “the” intelligent large reptile people love keeping as a pet. It can grow to about 40 inches and its lifespan is about 15 + years.

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HOUSING

A Tegu enclosure must have enough room for the lizard to turn, move and run freely about but also it must have accessories where they can climb on and perch. The substrate must allow them to dig/excavate and lastly, there should be a hide big enough for them to move about inside. A young Tegu would be comfortable in a 36”x24”x20” secure enclosure for starters but they grow fast so you may need an enclosure 2X that very soon. Some handlers build outdoor enclosures but that depends on climate. Since Tegus are quite intelligent, their social skills allow them to cohabitate in one enclosure. The only thing you need is to double everything for two and increase accordingly as you add a Tegu. When domesticated, you have the option of allowing them to freely roam about as long as the humidity and sunlight exposure is adequate.

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SUBSTRATE

As previously mentioned, the substrate must allow the Tegus to dig and excavate so make sure the substrate depth is adequate. Cypress mulch, like Zoo Med's Forest Floor Bedding, is an option but you can also use coconut fiber, like Zoo Med Eco Earth Coconut Fiber.

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HEATING

Tegu enclosures need a cool spot, warm area, and a basking spot. A cools spot must be about 80° F, the warm area should about 90° F and the basking spot should be about 95° F - 100° F. Zoo Med Basking Spot Bulbs or similar incandescent lights and Infrared Ceramic Heat Emitters controlled with a athermostat are ideal in providing the required temperatures for the enclosure.You can monitor the varying temperatures using a thermometer to help you maintain the temperatures for the cool spot, warm area, and basking spot.

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LIGHTING

Exposure to 10-12 hours of natural sunlight that is not filtered or through UV light provided by Mercury Vapor Bulbs is needed to keep a Tegu healthy. Note: a 6-month replacement cycle must be done to ensure adequate UVA/UVB exposure.

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SHELTER

Hides perform a variety of functions for the Tegu but every hide must be large enough for them to move around freely. Some hides will have damp moss or substrate for increased humidity.

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SHEDDING

Humidity helps Tegus shed. The humidity should be between 75%-90% for a Tegu enclosure. A Tegu’s hide with damp moss or substrate helps maintain humidity levels. Tegus love to soak and they require a tip-proof water bowl big enough to soak in with easy entry and exit access. Misting also helps keep humidity at optimum levels to aid in shedding.

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WATER

Tegus love to soak and they require a tip-proof water bowl big enough to soak in with easy entry and exit access.This cool spot water bowl must have fresh water every day.

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FOOD

A tegu is omnivorous and requires a diet that is largely composed of meaty meals but some fruits and veggies are also in the mix. Any raw meat like pinkie mice and even boiled eggs mostly fill its meals, but a small addition of fruits and veggies should be included. Zoo Menu Tegu & Monitor Food are Ready-to-Use are alternative meals you can give Tegus. Fun Fact: although largely meaty meals are given to Red Tegus, be prepared to feed more fruit and veggies to them compared to their Tegu cousins. After each meal, clean up all leftover food from the enclosure.

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VITAMINS

Commercially available food, including frozen mice, are usually supplemented or gut loaded and do not require a dusting of vitamins but raw meat meals, including the smaller portions of fruits and veggies, need to be sprinkled with supplements. Zoo Med Repti Calcium with D3 is a calcium/Vitamin D supplement or Rep-Cal Herptivite, a multi-vitamin, can be given 2X a week.

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CAGE MAINTENANCE

The dirty substrate must be removed daily. Leftover food must be removed after each meal. The tip-proof water bowl must have clean water daily. Full enclosure cleansing, including the accessories/furniture/hides, must be done every 2-3 months. Wash with mild detergent, rinse well, allow to dry, and put it back together. Consider changing the substrate every 4-6 months.

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