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Emmanuel Sitnikov
Emmanuel Sitnikov


Most Argentine tegus in the US are CBB (captive bred and born), but many Colombian tegus are still WC (wild-caught). CBB tegus are easier to tame and more likely to be healthy. WC tegus are difficult to tame and more likely to be loaded with parasites and other forms of disease.

tegu buy


If you are buying a tegu in-person, you are most likely at a pet store or reptile expo. You have the luxury of examining the animal up-close and personal, so use this opportunity to give it a thorough check-over:

Tegu Talk is a community of tegu enthusiasts. We aim to provide a free resource to tegu keepers around the world. On these pages you will find discussions on any and all topics relating to pet tegus (and other large lizards)! Thank you for visiting our site and joining our community.

Argentine tegus are large, strong, intelligent lizards that can grow upward of 5 feet long and weigh more than 20 pounds. An average female is around 3 to 3 feet long and 6- to 8-plus pounds. An average male is about 4 to 4 feet long and 8- to 12-plus pounds. There are always exceptions to the rule, however, including tegus that are smaller and larger than the average.

Given that tegus are ground-dwelling lizards, keeping an adult happy indoors requires a large footprint, but not a lot of height. An enclosure measuring 3 feet tall, 3 feet wide and 8 feet long would be the minimum size needed for a subadult or adult, but an enclosure measuring 3 feet tall, 4 feet wide and 8 feet long would be ideal. For a hatchling or yearling, skip the small aquarium. You will need an enclosure that is at least 2 feet tall, 2 feet wide and 4 feet long, with sliding doors on the front and a screen/solid top. If you can cover three-fourths of the screen top, or if you can find a lid that is solid for three-fourths of the top and a screen for the rest (at one end), this will help hold your temperatures steady and maintain humidity.

If you use a reptile light and a separate UVB bulb instead of a MVB, be sure to use a 26-watt, 10.0 compact desert UVB lamp to provide full-spectrum UV lighting. Along with shedding problems, a lack of calcium absorption (nutritional secondary hyperparathyroidism) is a common problem in lizards kept indoors, including tegus, hence the need for UVB lighting. Be certain to arrange all lights so that your tegu cannot burn itself! We recommend a 12 hour on/off schedule for the lighting during their active season and allowing them to hibernate (something they would do naturally, in the wild) over the winter.

It is more difficult to maintain humidity in a large enclosure than a small one, but you can maintain proper humidity levels by misting the side walls of the enclosure daily. Another option is to purchase a mister/fogger to help with the humidity. A moist hide box, too, is an absolute must for an indoor tegu.

Fill the hide box three-quarters full with a mix of 65 percent small-chip coco husk and 35 percent sphagnum moss (pre-moisten the moss, but do not make it sopping wet). Put the lid on the tote, and cut a circular hole toward one end of the lid, approximately 1 to 2 inches wider than your tegu. You may need to enlarge the hole as your tegu grows.

If your tegu has trouble climbing up onto the hide box, use a brick or two to provide a step up, and to provide traction, attach adhesive, non-slip strips (like the kind used on boats) to the lid and the front of the hide box, below where the hole is located. If you think your tegu would prefer a darker hide, cover the clear tote with a dark adhesive vinyl shelf liner, or use a tote constructed of darker-colored plastic.

From time to time, your tegu may experience shedding difficulties, especially on tails and toes. If so, slather Vaseline Intensive Care lotion with vitamin E on the stuck shed several times a day for three days. On the fourth day, gently rub the stuck shed, and it should roll off. Repeat if required.

Wild tegus are opportunistic and will eat anything they can fit in their mouths: ground-nesting birds and their eggs, a nest of baby mice, smaller snakes and lizards, frogs, toads, fruits and veggies.

A varied diet should be offered for proper nutrition. For hatchlings, a 4:1 ratio of protein to fruit/veggies works well. For yearlings it could be 3:1, and a subadult/adult tegu's ratio could be about 2:1.

Tegus require fresh water and a clean water bowl daily. If your tegu likes to soak in its water bowl, place a cat litter pan (clean, without the lid/hood) filled with water into the enclosure for both drinking and bathing. It needs to be cleaned at least daily, or more often if your tegu defecates in the pan.

In the spring, usually sometime in mid-March or mid-April, your tegu will come out of its hide box. When you see it in its basking area, turn the lights on for about an hour. If the tegu remains out the next day, leave the lights on for two hours, gradually increasing the duration each day until they're back on the 12/12 on/off schedule.

Do not feed your tegu right away. After one week, begin offering small pieces of its favorite fruit. After two weeks, add small amounts of meat and vegetables to its meals. By the third or fourth week, your tegu should be eating normally; however, some tegus may take an additional week or two to get back to normal eating.

If you decide to get a tegu, be prepared to dedicate the effort and time needed to care for it. On average, tegus live between 12 and 15 years, but they can live as long as 20. These intelligent lizards need interaction and a large enclosure. Make sure you can meet their needs before bringing one home.

Cindy Troost-Massolin owns and operates Tegu Topia (, located in Central Ontario, Canada. Her Argentine tegu collection includes tegus from Bert Langerwerf and, through her friendship and mentorship with Johnny LaRocca, Tegu Terra. Tegu Topia should have some very interesting tegus available in both Canada and the U.S. in the coming years, due to a new breeding partnership with Tegu Terra (USA).

Tell DNR when you see a tegu in the wild, alive or dead. These reports help biologists document occurrences and respond effectively. Note the location, take a photo if possible and report the sighting:

Be a responsible pet owner. Do your research before buying an exotic pet, and don't let it loose. Also, as of December 2022, all pet Argentine black and white tegus in Georgia must be registered and tagged (details below).

Note that as a non-native species, tegus in the wild in Georgia are not protected by state wildlife laws or regulations. They can be legally trapped or killed year-round on private property with landowner permission. However, animal cruelty and local ordinances apply, as do appropriate safety precautions.

Argentine black and white tegus cannot be imported or bred in the state. People who had one as a pet when the rules took effect have a year (until Dec. 4, 2023) to tag and register the tegu or transfer it to someone who has a wild animal license or permit.

Tegus can brumate (reptile hibernation) during colder months, increasing their likelihood for survival across the state. There is scientific evidence suggesting tegus could spread even to other parts of the southeastern U.S. In Florida, tegus have established four wild populations and are considered a high-priority exotic, invasive animal targeted for removal from the wild.

DNR has worked with partners including the U.S. Geological Society and Georgia Southern University to trap tegus in Toombs and Tattnall counties, removing animals and researching the population. In 2022, DNR will lead the trapping effort. Trapped tegus will be humanely euthanized and their diet and reproductive status documented at Georgia Southern. Also, public outreach is raising awareness of the threat tegus pose and the need to report them.

DNR is working to remove tegus from the wild in the area and will respond to confirmed sightings in the area if possible. At sites where a tegu is confirmed, the agency can work with the landowner to provide a live trap, instruction and even help with monitoring. Landowners who spot a tegu or tegus on their property should try to get a photograph to verify the presence and contact DNR with the information at (478) 994-1438 or

"I love to feed Reptilinks to a variety of reptiles like tegus, bearded dragons, box turtles, axolotl, and frogs. When I want quality food for my high end tegus and recovering breeder females, I choose Reptilinks."

We often hear from owners who rely solely on easy (but unvaried!) diets, such as only scrambled eggs or leftover vegetable scraps. While these options will keep your tegu fed, they likely don't provide the valuable variety of nutrients which can lead to your Tegu living a happy and healthy life.

Below you'll find a full alphabetized list of food for tegus from our experience and research online. Looking for a varied diet that comes pre-prepared? Check out this collection of prepared, canned, and dried tegu food that you can use as part of your Tegu's healthy diet.

Tegus are fast growers with active metabolisms, so regular feeding is important. Juvenal tegus should be fed daily - typically the amount of food that they can eat in about an hour. As they reach adulthood, tegus should be fed small, adequate meals several times a week (every other day or every second day). Decrease feeding during the winter when tegus hibernate. After each meal, clean up all leftover food from the enclosure.

Feed what your young tegu lizards need with the Tegu Feeder Bundle from Josh's Frogs! 5 nutritious, high quality foods come in this bundle, which is perfect for small tegus lizards that measure up to about 14" in length. It contains:

500ct Adult Banded Crickets - Banded Crickets should the primary insects fed to your tegu lizards. Offer 6-12 crickets per lizard every other day. Make sure to dust crickets with a high quality vitamin/mineral supplement at each feeding. 041b061a72


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