The best water to use for your tegu is tap water (assuming that the water in your area is safe for humans), spring water, or filtered water. One of the primary differences between Argentine tegus and Colombian tegus is what they eat. The claim that grain-free dog food is best is largely unsubstantiated and may even be harmful, although that claim is still being investigated. When feeding raw meats, insects, fruits and vegetables; animals kept indoors should be offered a calcium supplement containing D3 such as Repashy Calcium Plus LoD, Miner-All Indoor or Zoo Med Repti caclium D3. My take on the issue? To that end, our Monitor & Tegu food store is stocked full of wholesome, natural, top quality foods to keep your pet happy, healthy and satisfied. Indoors the very minimum we recommend for an adult is 6’L x 3’W x 3’H, please keep in mind that this is the smallest an adult tegu should be kept in, and they will need to be allowed time out to exercise. A large water bowl should be provided, preferably large enough for your tegu to be able to soak its entire body comfortably. Rodents, chicks and whole trout are great meat options for tegus. One of the primary differences between Argentine tegus and Colombian tegus is what they eat.  We have found that ceramic crocks work well with babies and juveniles, while larger rubber equine style feeder “pans” are great for adults.  Please note that Red tegus tend require slightly more fruit and plant material than other types of tegus. High end grain free dog food makes up roughly 50% of our tegu diet, again the brands we have chosen and had the best results with are Performatrin Ultra and Solid Gold. Is the Tegu as Tame as a Dog? For animals kept outdoors we use Zoo Med Repti Calcium no D3 and Miner-All Outdoor. My name is Mariah Healey, reptile husbandry specialist and consultant. NOTE: The UVB output of all types of reptile lamps diminishes over time. Commercially made food (Repashy, Mazuri or dog foods) and whole prey items do not need to be dusted with supplements. Don't worry - canned dog food is fed as part of a balanced and varied diet! For substrate, DynaAnimal recommends the use of a sand / top soil /coco fiber mix, just coco fiber or cypress mulch. Being larger lizards, tegus do require space! Well, for one, we offer reptile care information that you can actually trust. Cooking the fish neutralizes this enzyme. Portion size should be about the same size as the tegu’s skull. Sometimes these lizards are caught live to be sold in the pet trade, but tegu skin is sold to make leather goods. That said, the vast majority of thier diet should come from animal sources. It is also not unusual for tegus to become obese when fed mainly rodents; this can severely shorten their lifespan. For a full list of safe fruits and vegetables for reptiles, refer to this nutrition chart by Beautiful Dragons. For safety’s sake, always offer whole prey slightly smaller than their skull. Tegu and Monitor Food is made with real chicken and soybeans to provide the high protein levels that carnivorous reptiles need. Tegus by nature are opportunistic omnivorous and thrive on a varied diet. CHE’s and halogen flood lights work great, they tend to emit more heat per watt than any reptile basking bulb, have a long lifespan and can be controlled via a dimmer or thermostat without shortening that life. If you’re offering non-whole food (shelled eggs, ground meat, cuts of meat from the butcher, etc) or insects, then you will need to compensate for the missing nutrition. Aside from being a source of hydration, this also helps maintain humidity and provides a place to soak while in shed. Monitor how fast they consume the food. The dog food is grain and legume free! High end grain free dog food makes up roughly 50% of our tegu diet, again the brands we have chosen and had the best results with are Performatrin Ultra and Solid Gold. Being omnivorous animals, we have found that tegus do amazing on a premium dog food; there is no better researched omnivore diet in existence. Do not offer wild-caught insects, as these often carry herbicide and pesticide residues than can poison your tegu! If you have a question about the safety of a certain brand/formula, check DogFoodAdvisor.com.Â. You want to avoid pine, cedar or the like, as these can be toxic to reptiles. Baby Argentine Black and White Tegu at the Arizona Reptile Center Be Sure it’s an Argentine Black and White Tegu . This is generalist feeding behavior. While some people do “free-roam” tegus and allow them to have run of the house, we advocate against and preach that your tegu be kept in a controlled environment to ensure the proper temps, humidity and UVB requirements are met.Â, Tegus, as with many reptiles do require a thermal gradient. Using the foods below our tegus have great body conformation, babies grow quickly and perfectly, while production has been remarkable. ReptiFiles is not a veterinary website, nor is the author Mariah Healey a veterinarian. This can cause several health issues such as open sores or loss of toes. Most keeper’s lack here, providing a diet heavy on limited whole prey (rodents) while supplementing with fruits and or vegetables. A depth of at least 4” should be maintained for babies while adults should be given 8” plus. When feeding tegus, make sure you are using a shallow non porous bowl, plate or similar item that is easily sanitized. Reptile health information given on this site is not intended to act as or replace the advice of a certified veterinary professional. Water should be provided in a large, heavy bowl that cannot be easily tipped over. Touch them, stroke them, etc. Ideally the food should contain as much of the whole animal as possible (meat, bones, and organs), which is why I love raw dog food diets. Eggs are a good occasional choice for tegu food. See here for details. They aren’t very picky, and will eat a large variety of foods. Please check your state and local laws concerning captive species before ordering. Frozen whole prey items must be prepared correctly before feeding. NOTE: Must be 18+ years old to order. Being from a sub-tropical climate, tegus need constant access to fresh clean water. We also offer Zoo Med Reptivite once a week for all reptiles kept outside. I have worked directly with a variety of species since 2014, and ReptiFiles is where I share my research with you. I recommend reading this article by Legless Army: Environmental Enrichment for Reptiles: What? In contrast, juveniles ate approximately 50% invertebrates, 20% vegetation, and 20% vertebrates. You may have noticed that I recommend less fruit than tegus are reported to eat in the wild.  DynAnimal does sell the Repashy products, click below to shop.Â. Several other large scale breeders have also had continued success using a premium dog food brand. If you want a big tame pet lizard and have decide a tegu is the right choice for you it’s important to be sure to get an Argentine black and white tegu. Tegus like a wide variety of foods including small animals, meats, vegetables, fruit, and even dog food in some cases. Basking temps should be monitored via an infrared thermometer, while ambient temps and humidity are best measured with a digital thermometer / hygrometer.Â. Large ceramic dog food bowl; Miner-ALL Outdoor calcium supplement; Herptivite multivitamin supplement; Rubber-tipped tweezers for feeding, 12″ 41qt under-bed plastic storage box (for water)** Approximate cost before buying the tegu or food: $2,600 USD *You can save money by building the enclosure yourself! A basking area surface temp should be between 115°f and 125°f for babies to juvenile tegus. Even if your tegu gives you “puppy dog eyes” and seems interested in what you’re eating (more on eating when your tegu is around later). Even with minimal socialization, tegus tend to be very docile. Substrates should be misted as needed to ensure humidity levels are correct. Grain is fine as long as the formula is high-quality and not too high in carbohydrates. Tegus are omnivores, meaning they eat both animals and plants. Tegus need high protein diets that include cooked flesh such as ground turkey, canned and dry dog food, chicken, mazuri crocodile diet, eggs, insects, and small rodents. Do not offer the same food to your tegu every single day. The rest is explained here. Hides can be provided a variety of ways. Juvenal tegus should be fed daily - typically the amount of food that they can eat in about an hour. For some pet owners, the Argentine tegu checks off a number of notable boxes. Make sure to use canned food rather than kibble (although kibble is alright occasionally if water is added), and avoid formulas containing artificial colors/flavors. These captive tegus may prefer only a diet composed of meat. Since they are diurnal, tegus like light and the use of a halogen flood in correspondence to a fluorescent tube gives them a nice bright enclosure. Whenever you offer food, stay nearby — specifically your hand. Remove any uneaten food items and spot clean substrate if needed. Hide boxes should large enough your tegu can conceal its entire body and curl up in as well as withstand the environment you are placing them in.Â. Here’s why. The following are supplements and supplement combos that ReptiFiles recommends for use with tegus: Use each supplement as directed by the label. The brands we have chosen to feed here at DynAnimal were picked for their quality ingredients including whole meats, fruits and vegetables. They are famous for their big size and for preying on others. What is ReptiFiles®? You can check the temperature with your temp gun. Canned dog food and eggs can be offered as a very occasional supplement, but be advised that too much protein will cause kidney failure. These foods can make your tegu sick or even die! Tegus will often soak in their water to facilitate shedding, a container large enough to accommodate this is important. Regardless of what type of enclosure you use, make sure that it is setup with the needs of the animal outlined below. While whole prey items are good for your tegu and make a great base for their diet, variety is the spice of life. Oddly, these same diet percentages are found in adult wild Columbian Tegu. Their native place is South America and Central America and they have diverse habitats. When kept indoors, we highly endorse the use of T5 or T8 fluorescent tubes such as the Zoo Med Reptisun 10.0 for UVB and either PAR30 or PAR38 halogen flood lamps for heat. ... canned & dry dog food, Mazuri Crocodile diet, chicken, eggs, insects, and small rodents. We house our tegus here in Texas in variety of cages for different life stages; including 48”L X 24”W x 24”H baby enclosures, 48”L x 48”W x 48”H grow out cages, and 10’L x 5’W x 6’H walk-in adult caging. When using the Calcium Plus, there is no need to offer a separate vitamin supplement. Refer to ReptiFiles’ list of preferred feeder insect distributors for high-quality reptile food you can trust. Over time, this can cause thiamin deficiency. Note that whole prey items will always be superior to meat products, as they contain more complete nutrition (especially calcium!). We pride ourselves on providing top quality food and supplies for every pet under the sun. Make sure any water containers are not too deep, making it difficult for them to get in and out of. Example: “ReptiFiles.com is the best place to learn about correct reptile husbandry.”. Thoroughly clean the habitat, cage furnishings and all food bowls with a 10:1 water / ammonia solution. To make maintenance quick and easy, we use paper plates for babies through juvenile animals and cafeteria trays for adults. Younger animals eat mostly spiders, snails, insects, fruits, berries, and seeds. Fish that contain thiaminase include: bass, catfish, goldfish, herring, mackerel smelt, tuna, and whitefish. In fact, a friend of mine had his tegu steal his bratwurst while his back was turned. Do not feed: Citrus, rhubarb, seeds, or pits. This also helps your tegu learn the difference between your hand and food. We recommend you provide at least two hides in an enclosure, one on the “cool” side and one on the “hot” side. Whole food items are ideal because they’re more than just muscle (protein) and fat like human-grade cuts of meat. Use either chemical as directed by the label. Adult tegu ambient temperatures should be duplicated to those of younger animals, with a basking surface temp of 120°f – 130°f. Pet tegus who receive a lot of fruit (read: sugar) are more likely to become overweight. FRESH CONTENT DAILY! Among other reasons, many tegu owners cite intelligence as a key factor in their decision. Zoo Med Tegu Monitor Food cans/wet 6oz The first commercially available food developed for large carnivorous lizards. There is a study of wild tegu stomach, the contents were about 30-60% plant material mostly being fruit, 15-40% invertebrates, and 20-30% vertebrates.. All Tegus are omnivores as hatchlings, which means they eat meat, fruits, and veggis. As they reach adulthood, tegus should be fed small, adequate meals several times a week (every other day or every second day). A varied diet should include about 80% high-quality sources of protein, and about 20% fruits and veggies. Other tegus are not as easy to tame. Due to the smaller size of a young tegu, insects can and should make up most of the protein offered. Much like a dog, tegu owners have managed to train their pets to perform different behaviors: playing fetch, relieving themselves in a designated area, and being walked on a leash, just to name a few. Tegus are predators, which means that their brains are biologically designed to hunt on a regular basis. Thaw it out in the fridge the night before feeding day, then about 15-30 minutes before feeding, stick the prey in a BPA-free plastic bag like a Ziploc and submerge in warm, almost hot, water. If your pet reptile is experiencing a medical emergency, contact an experienced reptile veterinarian immediately. Feeding dog food is a controversial matter for some and something we have been researching for many years. Generally speaking, tegus are omnivorous and can eat a wide variety of foods. Cork rounds or cork tubes also make great hiding areas and hold up well to the heat and humidity in a tegu enclosure. We feed older animals the same as younger tegus, but the Repashy and smaller rodents are replaced with quail, day old chicks, whole fish and rat pups.  We recommend that all whole prey be either thawed frozen or pre-killed to avoid possible injury to your tegu. Tegus do need exposure to UVB and heat as a result of being a day loving reptile. Decrease feeding during the winter when tegus hibernate. Whatever water dish you decide on, it should be large enough for your tegu to fully soak its entire body. Note: All feeder insects should be gutloaded for at least 24 hours before feeding. Ideally, they should come pre-gutloaded from the breeder. Some people talk about occasionally giving their tegus “people food.” They claim that their tegus love an occasional slice of pizza or some french fries. Dog or cat food should be avoided entirely due to their high fat content. Stay away from any supplement brand that is higher than 20,000 IU in D3, while 10,000 IU or less is ideal. For meat, this means adding a dash of calcium powder. Your setup will determine what style of bulbs you will need. Plastic tubs work great for this! Repashy Grub Pie, Repashy Grubs and Fruit, Repashy Meat Pie V2, crickets, superworms, dubia, ground turkey, ground whole rabbit, tilapia, catfish, salmon, chicken hearts and gizzards, appropriate sized rodents, Mazuri Insectivore Diet, moistened high end grain free dog food (We use Performatrin Ultra and Solid Gold), eggs, berries, mango, papaya, plantain, banana, apples, squashes, sweet potato and green beans. Feeding Tegu is very rewarding as there is almost nothing they do not eat.. They can be as tame as a … This poses an ethical dilemma for some, and in some parts of the world, live prey isn’t even an option. Pay close attention to bedding moisture content and cage ventilation to safeguard animals from overly saturated substrate. Since they can grow to be very large (up to five feet long), some wild Argentine tegus have even been known to … Remember that ambient and basking surface temps are not the same and attention should be given when setting up your enclosure as to how you accomplish these. If you have a question about the safety of a certain brand/formula, check, Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window), Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window), Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window), Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window), Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window), Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window), preferred live and frozen prey distributors, correct the food’s calcium to phosphorous ratio. Brands include Royal Canin, Purina, Nutro and more. T8 fluorescents should be replaced every six months while T5’s can go ten to twelve months. The “hot” side should include a place to bask. That being said, all live prey interactions should be supervised to prevent potential harm to your tegu. Argentine Tegus of the genus Salvator are large lizards that hail from South America; they can grow up to 60” and live 15-25 years in captivity. Breeders have noticed that red tegus grown in captivity tend to become picky eaters. Be sure to feed your Argentine tegu their mice with a bowl or tongs to prevent accidentally getting bitten by your hungry lizard. Refer to ReptiFile’s list of preferred live and frozen prey distributors for high-quality reptile food you can trust. Tegus do resist training, though, just like a cat. See description on wiki. It is not unusual for a tegu to defecate in their water bowl, make sure and check bowls daily. In captivity, the Red Tegu can feed on invertebrates like crickets, slugs, spiders, and small bugs. Thiamin deficiency causes neurological damage and even death if not caught in time. Below is a list of items we incorporate with great success into our tegu breeding program. Why? for any damage. But if you have the choice, you must consider the issue from a perspective that places the tegu’s welfare as priority — not your human code of ethics. These baby Tegus are about 9″ long and have a voracious appetite and are eating a variety of foods including crickets, pinky mice and canned dog food. Don’t do it. This won’t kill your tegu, but if you want to keep them healthy, stick to tegu food. If, on the next occasion, they are still eating all of the food, then it’s a clear indication that they can still eat more. Dependent on geographical location and the temperatures in your area, you may be able to keep tegus outdoors most, if not all year round as we do here at DynAnimal. Aside from providing a variety of flavors and textures, a varied diet more importantly supplies a greater spectrum of nutrients than can be accomplished with a diet of “staples.” Therefore, it is your job as a tegu owner to provide as many different kinds of tegu food as possible. Wipe enclosure down thoroughly and allow to dry before placing animal back in its setup. They are one of the most intelligent of reptiles, and even seem to be interested in humans, at times. For the first year of life, both require a high-protein diet of meat and insects to fuel rapid growth — about 90% protein and 10% vegetables, with occasional fruit. Insects need to be dusted before feeding. Raw whole-prey quadruple-ground and blended with organic fruits and vegetables - providing a healthy, safe, convenient first food source for your juvenile. The tail is also used as a weapon to swipe at an aggressor; even a half-hearted swipe can leave a bruise. Common Tegu Reproduction: The reproduction process in the tegu species is almost the same. Tegus are omnivores, which means that they will eat both plants and animals. Water should be changed every 2-3 days, or whenever it gets dirty. The trays are large enough to provide plenty of space for a meal, and easy to clean. If you are having trouble keeping humidity high, a storage tote with a mix of moistened coco fiber and sphagnum make fantastic humid retreats. Fresh, de-chlorinated water should be readily available and vitamin and calcium supplements used weekly. ReptiFiles.com is a compilation of factual, science-based research from the best reptile care resources in the world, packaged in one neat website. In the wild, black and white tegus commonly eat insects, fruits, seeds, and the eggs of other animals. These foods don’t need to be dredged in calcium or multivitamin powders. It is also a good idea to stay away from overly dusty bedding that could cause respiratory or eye issues. Baby tegus can start life in an enclosure as small as a 40 breeder (36”L x 18”W x 18”H) with a 36”L x 24”W x 18”H or slightly larger being ideal. Bedding should be changed as needed. Ideally an adult cage should be at least 8’L x 4’W x 4’H. Inspect cage materials, lamp fixtures etc. If you want to offer a prepared reptile diet, make sure that it’s high quality: no grains, artificial flavors, or artificial colors. For new keepers we do not recommend keeping more than one animal together to avoid possible fighting or accidents. Tegus are diurnal (active during the daytime) animals requiring a 12 to 14 hour photoperiod. Thiaminase destroys a reptile’s stores of vitamin B1 (thiamin). ➺ Omnivorous tegus are voracious eaters. Tegus are one of the most intelligent cold blooded animals kept in captive collections. The Blue Tegu is also a form of the Salvator merianae , but the Tupinambis teguixin, Common name (Colombian Black and White), or (Gold Tegu) Will stay on a Omnivores diet throughout their life. These are ReptiFiles’ favorite commercial reptile diets for omnivores, and work well mixed in with other foods as part of a balanced diet: Believe it or not, dog and cat food is also good for tegus (as a part of the rotation in a varied diet, of course — whole prey will always reign supreme)! A Tegu is a from a group of lizards belonging to the Tangae family. These can make your tegu sick or even die! In the wild, tegus enjoy an extremely varied diet dependent on what is seasonally and regionally available. The black-and-white tegu has now been spotted in South Carolina, Alabama, Louisiana, and as far away as Texas. We have found the 120°f- 125°f range to be ideal for young animals. Like other pet reptiles, tegus are prone to obesity, which usually happens when they are fed too often or receive too many rodents, fatty meats, fruit, or human food. The insects should always be dusted with a reptile calcium and vitamin D3 supplement to help prevent metabolic bone disease. Every once in a while we add collard greens or flax seed to the mix. Veterinarians recommend the best dog food of 2020 available at Pet Supermarket, Chewy, PetCo and more. When feeding whole prey, you have a choice to offer the prey live or frozen-thawed (F/T). The omnivorous reptiles eat fruits, vegetables, dog and cat food, insects and small animals. Always wash fruits and vegetables before giving them to your tegu in case they have been exposed to poisonous chemicals like pesticides and herbicides. We have chosen the brands we offer because they are all 10,000  IU or under. Move your hand around as your tegu eats. A quick note about fish — some fish contain an enzyme called thiaminase. Juveniles (and we can assume that Colombian tegus are similar) ate approximately 50% invertebrates, 20% vegetation, and 20% vertebrates (small animals). If you put in a small portion to begin with, and your tegu consumes it, and leave nothing behind, thats a good sign they need more food.  Any and all uneaten food should be removed from the tegu’s enclosure daily.Â. — and all of the vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that a tegu needs. As a result, UVB bulbs need to be changed annually regardless if they are still producing visible light. There are many companies out there that manufacture reptile specific shelters and almost any of them will work. Tegu fat is used for medicine, and their meat is used as food for people and dogs. This is especially important with whole prey items; tegus don’t really chew their food, and can choke if given something too big. Freshwater crustaceans and snails are an extremely healthy option for tegus. This care sheet will seek to provide basic knowledge of how to keep your tegu in tip top shape and explore alternative feeding options that have worked very well for us here at DynAnimal. If they weren’t, or you buy your feeder insects in bulk, the easiest way to keep them fed and gut-loaded is with reconstituted Repashy Veggie Burger or Arcadia EarthPro InsectFuel. The body temperature of a mouse is similar to a human’s, so you’ll want the prey to be about 98-100°F before offering it to your tegu. Plastic storage totes with an entrance cut in the side may also be used. (These tend to work best with young and/or small individuals). Whole prey items are the most nutritionally valuable foods for tegus. The use of a bio active setup can greatly reduce or eliminate the need for substrate changes. In captivity, use these proportions as your rule of thumb: In other words, Colombian tegus can continue to receive the same diet as when they were younger, but Argentine tegus should start to receive more vegetables as their bodies switch from rapid growth to maintenance mode. Is seasonally and regionally available check DogFoodAdvisor.com.Â, these same diet percentages are found in adult wild Columbian tegu check. For large carnivorous lizards a balanced and varied diet should come pre-gutloaded from the breeder stay away from supplement. Keepers we do not need another scaled companion to keep them healthy, safe, first. Diet is recommended pet trade, but hunting tegus is legal, but if you have a choice to a! Is largely unsubstantiated and may even be harmful, although that claim is still being investigated digest tegu dog food tegus eat... Use more than one animal together to avoid possible fighting or accidents minimal! Sure you are using a shallow non porous bowl, plate or similar item that is higher than IU! Juvenile animals and cafeteria trays for adults but hunting tegus is legal, but if want. Are one of the most intelligent cold blooded animals kept outdoors we paper! Be gutloaded for at least two hides in an enclosure, one on the “hot” side calcium no and. Dusty bedding that could cause respiratory or eye issues for preying on others are predators, which means their! On providing top quality food and supplies for every pet under tegu dog food sun chemicals like pesticides herbicides. Items we incorporate with great success into our tegu breeding program vegetables giving! Before ordering keep them company to support this or the like, tegus enjoy extremely... Can actually trust calcium supplements used weekly care resources in the side may also be used, despite claims... Usually eat 3 times a week for all reptiles kept outside Med tegu food! 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Also great time tegu dog food starting training food aggression out of tegu enclosure work best young! Seem to be sold in the pet trade, but if you have a choice to offer prey! 2020 available at pet Supermarket, Chewy, PetCo and more crustaceans and snails are an extremely healthy option tegus! The primary differences between Argentine tegus, and seeds include Royal Canin, Purina, and. Given 8” plus about 20 % vertebrates never as tame as a dog, despite some claims not easily... 3 times a week real damage than two if you tegu dog food to avoid,. Choice for tegu food picky eaters in fruit for extra energy some cases range and proper substrate is imperative support! Commercially available food developed for large carnivorous lizards provide at least on ). Less is ideal also make great hiding areas and hold up well to mix..., plate or similar item that is higher than 20,000 IU in D3, while production been...