Tegu Care Sheet
Tegu Care Sheet(Salvator)
Humidity: between 30-75
Temps: Basking should be 110-125 and cool side 78-85
Caging: minimum 6x4x3 - 8x4x4 or larger
Lighting: UVB required as well as vitamin D3 and calcium
Lifespan: 15-30 years
Tegus are large omnivorous lizards that require UVB as well as calcium with D3 when being kept indoors. Tegus benefit tremendously from a microclimate. This is a hide that is super humid (90%+) that they can retreat to help them shed. They also do well with deep bedding, sometimes as much as 2 ft. The optimal cage would be a 8x4x3 with a basking spot using several lights to reach an area of 110-120 while still maintaining a cool side of 80 degrees.
Caging: Babies can start out in a 3x2x2. Young tegus will grow very rapidly, and you should work on having a 6 ft grow up cage ready by 8-10 months old. It is not uncommon for babies to reach four feet in the first year of growth.
Lighting: Tegus require UVB lighting to properly absorb calcium/D3. We prefer to use Mega rays as well as 10.0 Repti-Suns t5 Fluorescent lights. We supplement heat with halogens if they are needed. Items should be dusted 3-5 times a week varying with age.
Heating: There are several different ways you can heat your enclosure. We tend to use outdoor flood lights or halogen bulbs. As your animal grows so should its basking spot. It is not out of the question for an adult Tegu to have 2-4 lights spread out for it to be able to properly warm its body at the same time. If you notice your Tegu is hanging off the basking spot or is moving around to warm up certain parts of itself, you should add another light.
Substrates: Babies start out on 2-4 inches; however, adults should have at least 8 inches for burrowing and shedding. Offer deep bedding and spray it down as needed. The top inch or two can dry out but below that should still moist but not overly damp or wet. We recommend a topsoil and peat moss mix for most indoor cages. You can add cypress mulch to that mix to help it retain moisture as needed. Always make sure all substrates are organic and free of any pesticide’s fertilizers or manures.
DIET: Offer a large variety of items to all ages of Tegus. Tegus start out mainly carnivorous but will eat some fruits when mixed/ground up into a mix. As they age, they should start eating more plant-based items As adults they will eat between 40-60% animal based, and plant based.
Supplementation/ Vitamins: Indoor animals all require calcium with D3. We use Repashy supercal HyD and Sticky tongues miner-all with d3 for all our indoor animals. All outdoor animals are given either Repashy Supercal NoD or Sticky tongues Miner-all without d3. For babies we dust 3-5 times per week. Adults we dust weekly with NoD.
Feed Schedule: 0-6 months 5-7 times a week. Juvenile Tegu 6-10 months: 4-5 times a week. 10 months old until adulthood we offer food 3-4 times a week. Adult Tegu 2 years plus: when your Tegu is a large adult they do not need as much food as you would think. We have several large adult males who are 20
pounds that are fed 1-2 times a week and look great! They tend to consume about 50% animal product and 50% vegetation. They are not very picky and will eat whatever you put in front of them. They do not get as much exercise as their wild counter parts do so you do not want to over feed them!
Obesity in Tegus is one of the most common diseases they can have. It is a disease because it limits how they can normally function, and it will shorten the lifespan of the animal. That is why an animal that is optimal body size or even a little lean is healthier than an overweight animal. They do not have the endless spaces they do in the wild to roam so we must control their intake for food and work to stimulate and exercise them.
Cageless keeping/ Free Roaming and why it is not the best idea: Tegus are very curious animals and will get into trouble at any chance they can. Even if you Tegu proof your house it is not likely your house has the same environment a Tegu needs. The lack of humidity could potentially cause lasting damage to their organs as well as the lack of basking spots could leave them stressed looking for somewhere to warm up. That all being said it is a very enriching activity to let your Tegu free roam for an hour or two here and there, just make sure to put up all other animals and anything they may swallow.
Hibernation/ Brumation: Most Tegus will hibernate during the winter months. This is not something you can force them to do nor can you stop them from doing it. They do it based of barometric pressure, so temperatures do not affect them. If you do not see your tegu for 72 hrs do not offer food unless you see them back up for 72 hours consistently. This ensures that they are going to be staying awake and are not just waking up to drink and warm up. Do not offer food during this time. They might take it from you however if they go back to sleep and do not bask it could rot in their stomach which could make them sick and even be fatal. Offer plenty of fresh water in case they come up for a drink. You can reduce your light cycle to what a typical winter day may entail, 6-8 hours is what we recommend. They may hibernate from as early as October till March. Most tend to sleep for 3-4 months however 6 months is not unheard of.