Western & Central Africa & Asia
Food consists of mainly mice, rats, chickens, insects, and sweet fruit (baby food). Reptile vitamins should be sprinkled on the food every other feeding. Varied diets are better for the animals.
When feeding your animals, it is important to feed enough to keep the animal plump at the base of his tail but not enough to allow the food to be crawling around inside the tank uneaten-if the animal is not going to eat the food he will not kill it and will allow the food to chew on him! If you feed any thawed frozen food be sure the food is completely thawed as feeding even a partially frozen food item will cause your cold blooded pet to go into shock from the temperature change.
Housing is usually an aquarium with simple decorations such as rocks and branches. Jungle Mix or Repti Bark can be used on the bottom. A large bowl for bathing and drinking is necessary and this MUST be kept clean. We recommend using a submersible filter in the water.
Heat & Lighting
Temperature should be between 75° and 85°, and a basking area with a higher temperature of around 90°. We suggest the use of an under the tank heater and a reptile full spectrum bulb for daytime. At nighttime, the temperature can drop to 70° and you should turn off the light and just run the under the tank heater. If your temperature dips below 70° at night, then you need to purchase a reptile night light which gives off heat and provides darkness so the reptile can sleep. A fluorescent 5.0 is recommended.
Lizards are cold blooded and need the proper heat to digest their food and build up their immune system. Knowing the correct temperature is important to the health of your reptile. Keeping an animal too warm can cause overheating and death in a few minutes, keeping an animal too cool will weaken its immune system, cause trouble digesting its food and functioning normally. Each animal will have its own comfort zone and the owner must provide this zone by providing a cooler end and a heated end.
Fluorescent bulbs are long tube shaped bulbs which do not provide heat but do provide necessary uvb rays to allow for proper usage of vitamins and minerals from food. Without uvb rays, these animals will develop metabolic bone disease. Fluorescent bulbs need replaced every six months.
Children should be closely monitored around any animal and the Tegu can be sensitive to too many hands poked near their face. If by chance you do get your hand in the Tegu's mouth, do NOT throw your hand around or the lizard will just get a tighter grip for fear of being dropped. Place your hand on the floor, and if that fails, dip the lizard in water - he will let go or drown!
Do not attempt to handle your new animal until it has eaten for you several times; handling can cause stress which will add to the time it takes for the lizard to acclimate to its new surroundings. When you do handle your reptile remember they will never be like a mammal which may allow you to handle it for a long period of time; reptiles will tolerate some handling but not for long. Over stimulating causes stress.
The Tegu has a powerful tail which can be broken off accidentally and in time will regenerate. If you need to trim their nails, be sure to only remove the sharp tip.
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact the Reptile Room at (717)299-5691 ext.1240. As with any animal, please wash your hands after handling.
We strive to help our customers keep their animals healthy. We recommend purchasing a book about your new pet and making regular visits to your vet. If you do notice any signs of illness, it is important to seek treatment immediately as most animals are very good at hiding their illness until it is in an advanced stage.