Hello everyone. I've been meaning to start a thread on this for awhile, here it is.

I've had a lot of success with a hand-feeding method that uses a flat bamboo spatula, like this. It should really be flat, not rounded like a spoon because your tegu will chomp down on it and a spoon shape could be hard on the jaws. I made the mistake at first of using a plastic spoon. He ended up biting it in half and I had to pry his jaws open and retrieve the sharp, broken spoon end before he swallowed it. Don't make this mistake.

I started using it to feed items that were hard for my tegu to pick up with his jaws, for example, blueberries. Since he really likes blueberries, he took to it easily, quickly learning that the spatula means food. Once I saw this connection he had made between the spatula and food, I thought I'd try other items that he didn't normally eat on his own - mainly vegetables. I was quite pleased to see that the association between food and the spatula was strong enough that he would bite at almost anything that I put on there.

Before this, Ripper's diet consisted mostly of whole animal prey and fruit, because that was all he would eat on his own. With the help of the spatula training, he now consumes a great deal of vegetables that he would never have touched. There is no longer need to hide food in meat (turkey balls, etc.), squeeze fruit juice onto the veggies or otherwise make it more palatable for him. He will voluntarily eat most veggies without any flavor enhancements.

Here's a list of the vegetables he regularly eats now: (These veggies are lightly steamed unless indicated. I do this to increase absorption, ease of swallowing, and to remove components that might cause digestive upset)
- almost any leafy green (dandelion, kale, Chinese cabbages, etc.)
- winter squash
- sweet potato
- carrot
- rutabaga
- turnip
- broccoli
- cauliflower
- Brussels sprouts
- mushrooms (raw)
- bell peppers (raw)

As you can imagine, the method is very simple. Introduce the spatula by using foods that your tegu already likes, in fact, go for the favorites to start off. Just put the food on the very end of the spatula and hold it up near the mouth. It might take the tegu a while to learn to eat off the spatula, but using favorite foods will encourage a quick leaning process. Once he gets the idea, you can start switching to other foods.

I would not recommend using this as a sole feeding method. Make sure your tegu is still picking up some food in a natural way out of a dish, etc. This is more of a way to include items that captive tegus don't normally consume on their own.