Caring For The Argentine B&W Tegu (Tupinambis meriane)

“For my friend and hero Bert Langerwerf who passed away August 11 2008.  Only a few words about Bert Lizardman – a herp pioneer and great asset to the herp community.  I’ve talked to Bert since 1998 and learned a lot. Bert always amazed me – he had a pile for rotten fruit to atttract fruit flies to feed small lizards. Got turkey from dumpsters cut them up with a chainsaw to feed tegus.  Introduced many species to the herp trade including Argentine tegus , Australian water dragons , Eyed lacertas and many more. Bert had a great sense of humor and always asked how you were doing.  Myself and a few friends carry on Bert’s legacy.” Guest Author, JD Hartzel

Size of Tegus

Adults typically reach a length between 4 and 5 feet.

Housing Tegus

A 20-30 gallon tank for hatchlings is recommended.

For adults I recommend that pairs & trios be housed in outdoor enclosures.  The following link from my good friend Bert Langerwerf shows you how to build these enclosures.

Feeding Tegus

I buy 2 or 3 pounds of turkey burger, 1 pound of beef or chicken livers, Zoo Med canned snails and cod liver oil. I add 1/2 cup to the mix, stir it up then freeze it in half gallon freezer bags.  Easy.  Then defrost,  add fruits like bananas, melons and any other sweet fruit. Variety is best. I don’t feed my tegus vegetables.  Other foods such as chopped fish, boiled eggs, rats, chicks and mice may be given once a week.  I add calcium and reptile vitamins once a week.  This is my routine.

Note: It is best to not let the tegu relate to you for food only. I actually feed mine before the lights or sun comes up in the morning.

Taming Tegus

The first thing I recommend is buying captive bred tegus. Once you do, the first thing that a hatchling tegu thinks is,  “They are going to eat me!” A method that has worked well for me is the T-shirt Method. Simply wear a shirt to get your scent on it, then use it to gently pet the tegu. After the tegu gets used to it, you can then start picking it up. Do this till you feel ready to move on. Then, use your hand to gently handle the tegu.  Keep handling on a daily routine.

Teaching Tegus

Tegus are intelligent and responsive lizards that can make great pets. After a few years of keeping and breeding tegus I am still learning about them. I have done clicker training with tegus with great success and many other interesting things that I plan on putting on video later this year.

To learn more, please check out Agama International.

Guest Author: JD Hartzel, Lizardman & Lizardkeeper

Interested in writing for SaveTheReptiles.com? Articles could cover a wide range of subject matters including: rescue, captive husbandry, breeding, law, zoology, veterinary/medical, herpetology in the field and more.

You can also share any funny and heart-warming stories about your experiences with reptiles – whether it is in the wild or your own pets.  Life with reptiles can be fun and I would love to share your stories with my readers!

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Candace ~ SaveTheReptiles.com

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About Candace M Hansen

Wildlife advocate, conservationist and environmentalist.
This entry was posted in Captive Care - Lizards, Featured Articles. Bookmark the permalink.

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