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Thread: Rick's Tegu Caresheet

  1. #1
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    Default Rick's Tegu Caresheet

    T.merianae (Argentine B&W Tegu) Care
    By Rick Sisco of Sisco Reptiles

    General Information

    The Tupinambis merianae (Argentine B/W Tegu) is a large, intelligent lizard from South America. They have been recorded in Brazil (Amazon, Rio Grande do Sul), N. Argentina, Uruguay, Bolivia (Santa Cruz) and other locations. They vary from light to dark and in size from region to region.

    Housing & Substrate

    Hatchling tegus can generally be housed in a 20 gallon to 40 gallon 'breeder' aquarium. Anything smaller than a 20 gallon aquarium will not allow for a proper temperature gradient. As a tegu gets larger, it will need a larger enclosure. An adult tegu should have an enclosure that is a least 3 wide, 2.5 to 3 feet tall, 6 feet long.

    There are many substrates that can be used safely and some that should not be used. Do NOT use cedar or pine products. They produce an aromatic oil that can be toxic to reptiles.

    My personal recommendation is "Cypress Mulch" which can be purchased at most farm and garden supply places. If you can not find it locally, check around and speak to the store managers and see if they can order it for you. Cypress mulch holds humidity well, but does not mold easily.

    Lighting, Temp & Humidity

    A proper photoperiod and temperature gradient is required to keep your tegu in optimal health. Tegus DO use UVB lighting to process vitamin D3.

    A UVB bulb (for processing Vitamin D3) and a Basking bulb should be placed on one side of the enclosure. The wattage of the Basking bulb is dependant on the size of the enclosure. If the enclosure is small, you will require a low wattage bulb. If the enclosure is really large, you may need a couple high wattage bulbs. By placing the Basking bulb on one side of the enclosure it allows a temperature gradient, which basically means that one side of the tank is hot and one side is cool. This allows the tegu to move back and forth as required to be comfortable. Optimally, you want the basking spot to be 100F to 110F, while the cooler ambient side should be 70F to 80F.

    Note that UVB is very important. Not all "full spectrum" bulbs produce UVB. Make sure the UVB is designed for reptiles and states clearly "UVB" (not just UVA).

    Using a 24 hour timer to turn the lights off at night and on during the day will help you maintain a proper photoperiod for your tegu.

    Misting the enclosure daily will keep the enclosure from getting too dry. If it gets too dry, your tegu could have issues trying to shed. Shedding issues cause horrible pain, scars and often loss of tail and/or toes.

    Feeding & Diet Requirements

    Tegus should have a large variety in their diet. Tegus do require Calcium supplements and Vitamin D3 supplements. These supplements are available at any pet shop in the form of a fine powder. Calcium powder should be used for two days, on the third day use Vitamin D3 powder, then for the next two days use the Calcium, etc. etc. So basically.. Monday & Tuesday use Calcium supplements on the food. On Wednesday use Vitamin D3 supplements. On Thursday & Friday use Calcium supplements. On Saturday use Vitamin D3, on and on. Do not use the Vitamin D3 every day as it can cause an overdose. I sprinkle supplements on everything except whole food items (rodents, fish, etc)

    My tegus diet consist of "Fruit & Meat" every meal. I feed once a day and I allow the tegu to eat as much as it wants to for that one meal. I place the food in a large plastic bin. I then take the tegu out of the enclosure and hold it for a few minutes. Then place the tegu into the bin that already has the food. This avoids any association of you or your hand, with the food. It also avoids the territorial behavior that a tegu can get if it is fed into its enclosure. As a further benefit, it avoids accidental ingestion of substrate, which can cause impaction.

    There are many things a tegu can have.. but here is what my tegus diet normally includes...

    Meats:

    • Prekilled (Frozen/Thawed Rodents) ** Do not feed live rodents **
    • Insects (Crickets, Roaches, Superworms)
    • Lean Raw Ground Turkey

    Fruits:

    • Strawberry
    • Grapes
    • Melons
    • Banana
    • Kiwi
    • Blueberry
    • Raspberries

    An example week of feeding would be..

    Monday : F/T Rodents & Diced Strawberries
    Tuesday : Discoid Roaches & Diced Grapes
    Wednesday : Lean Raw Ground Turkey & Cut up Cantaloupe
    Thursday : F/T Rodents & Sliced Banana
    Friday : Crickets & Chopped Kiwi
    Saturday : Lean Raw Ground Turkey & Blueberries
    Sunday : F/T Rodents & Raspberries

    There are other items that can be used as treats, but shouldn't be part of the tegus regular diet.. Eggs (boiled, scrambled or raw), Potatoes (boiled, mashed, etc. Do NOT feed raw potatoes), Clean Fish, etc. You should search the forums here on TheTegu.com for more food ideas.

    Warnings

    There are a few things I have stated already and will stress again here...

    1. UVB & Calcium/Vitamin D3 supplements are required if you want to ensure a healthy tegu.

    2. Do not feed live rodents. Tegus fed live rodents learn to grab first and then decide if it's food. Feeding prekilled rodents lowers the feeding response and the chance of accidental bites. It also helps tame a tegu.

    3. Do not feed your tegu inside its enclosure. The reasons are listed above.

    This is just a basic care sheet to get you started. Be sure to search the forums here at www.www.thetegu.com for more information.

    Sincerely,

    Rick Sisco
    Sisco Reptiles
    SiscoReptiles.com

  2. #2
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    nice rick. i think that covers anything anyone new will ever have to ask.. im gonna have to direct people to this.

  3. #3
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    Rick do you have a care sheet and diet for the colombian tegu ?
    1.0.0 Argentine Tegu
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  4. #4
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    8O WOW Rick great job.Thank you.I have to save this one for new members.

  5. #5
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    The Tegu don't need to eat Vegetables :

    If it's like this, I won't buy vegetables for mine!
    Ben
    0.1.0, 2007, Bearded Dragon (Uresaii)
    1.0.0, 1999, Hermann Tortoise (Tama-chan)
    0.1.0, 2007, Redfoot Tortoise (Kame-chan)


    Got msn? If you want to talk to me just leave me a private message !

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by angelrose
    Rick do you have a care sheet and diet for the colombian tegu ?
    I am afraid I don't keep any colombians, but the few I had were fed and treated the same. They ate the same fruits and meats (though at first they needed to be taught that fruit was 'food')

    The rest of the care is basically the same for any tegu.

    Rick

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by txrepgirl
    8O WOW Rick great job.Thank you.I have to save this one for new members.
    Great! And I appriciate all you have been doing to welcome new members and helping them get started. I may have to make you the official "Forum Greeter"

    Rick

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ben3233
    The Tegu don't need to eat Vegetables :

    If it's like this, I won't buy vegetables for mine!
    They do not require veggies and most will not eat them anyways, but if yours will eat them by all means.. offer some for variety.

    I do offer tomatoes as a treat now and then and some like it.

    Rick

  9. #9
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    oh thank you!!!
    Ben
    0.1.0, 2007, Bearded Dragon (Uresaii)
    1.0.0, 1999, Hermann Tortoise (Tama-chan)
    0.1.0, 2007, Redfoot Tortoise (Kame-chan)


    Got msn? If you want to talk to me just leave me a private message !

  10. #10
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    8O WOW I really don't know what to say.I'm speech less .Thank you sooooo much for the compliment.I'm honored.I just go by" treat people how you want to be treated".Oooooh boy now I'm really never going to get of this forum.My boyfriend asks me sometimes when I'm getting of the computer :lol: .I just wish I would know more about Tegus so I can help even more people.I'm also very happy to be a part of this forum.

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