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Alice's Taming Journal

Discussion in 'Tegu Taming and Handling Discussion' started by TeguPuppy, Jul 8, 2017.

  1. TeguPuppy

    TeguPuppy Member

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    So, I hope this is in the right place. I wanted to make a thread to chronical the trials and tribulations of taming a wild caught adult female tegu.

    Meet Alice. Alice was purchased from Rodney Irwin, and I highly recommend him as a seller...he is a good man. Buying from him gives a wild tegu a second chance, there is currently an extermination effort happening in the Everglades...everyone wins when these invasive tegus are sold into captivity vs being killed on sight.

    However, being wild caught, these animals haven't been around people all their lives and as such I knew going in that this was going to take a bit of effort.

    Unboxing was a bit eventful...she shot straight up and dove under a shelf. I put her in her enclosure and left her alone for two days. She ate, drank, and defecated...healthy tegu.

    Now, it's the third day, and I have moved her into a screened enclosure in my lizard-proofed bedroom. Now she gets to hear me and see me. I have started making food a conditional thing...she only gets food when I'm in the bedroom, I come in several times a day and offer small amounts of especially choice items...there was a sale on ahi tuna at my local market, so that (dusted with calcium) has been the offering all day. Needless to say she gobbled it down with me standing there, even between all the huffing and puffing. I still can't pick her up or really pet her all that much, she will tail whip and open-mouth me, all while hissing loudly. But, I'm taking the fact that she ate everything I offered today as a small victory.[​IMG]

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  2. Walter1

    Walter1 Moderator Staff Member 1,000+ Post Club

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    She's a beauty. Hard for Argies to get used to being off the ground. It's strange. In the future let her climb on your crossed legs while sitting on floor. Pull shirt over her head for security. Eventually you can lift her directly to your chest for a grip.

    Personally, I sit among mine and interact as they come and go.
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  3. TeguPuppy

    TeguPuppy Member

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    Thanks! I'm not going to be devastated if she doesn't end up dog-tame, but I would like a bit of interaction and I am confident she will get there, it will just take a lot of patience.

    A little about me, since this is a journal of sorts...I used to be a very serious herpetoculturist before I got married and sold everything because my spouse was afraid of reptiles. Now, I'm going through the divorce process, and the first thing I did when I got settled was buy my first tegu, haha. I wanted a really rewarding project, and I can't think of a better one than helping an ecosystem, saving a tegu from extermination, and getting a new pal all in one go as I dive back into the hobby. I will never be without a reptile in my home again :)

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    Last edited: Jul 8, 2017
  4. Walter1

    Walter1 Moderator Staff Member 1,000+ Post Club

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    I've yet to see a longterm scared tegu. My experience is that atcthe very least they'll be curious about you and check you out, and you can pet it, etc., like a typical house cat. Others seem to want/enjoy to be held. They interact, the issue is extent, which varies among individuals and even day to day. Glad you're getting back in the hobby.
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  5. TeguPuppy

    TeguPuppy Member

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    I can pick her up!!!

    Well, sort of. She open-mouths me and will death roll out of my grip, and of course tail-whip me for good measure. But after a few minutes of this, she stops. Not sure if she just tires herself out or if she knows I'm not going to eat her. Still, In the end, I get a few minutes per day of a calm tegu in my lap. Afterwards, she gets a bite of food. Seems to be reinforcing that I am not as scary as I look :)

    I can probably start soaking her every day now in the bathtub. I'd really like to trim her nails, too...see the photo.[​IMG]

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  6. Walter1

    Walter1 Moderator Staff Member 1,000+ Post Club

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    She deathrolls, you squeeze and hold firm and peak softly. When she stops, you slowly release until/unless she commences to roll again, then repeat. You always have to win. Then, you can easily let her go, etc. but until you decide to and she is not squirming.
  7. TeguPuppy

    TeguPuppy Member

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    I took your advice, Walter1...she absolutely shredded my wrists, but I didn't let her go until she stopped. And then immediately after she got a big meal of chopped up whole raw shrimp (dusted) which she gobbled down with me standing there. I had no idea they were this smart! Also all her nails have been trimmed as of 20min ago. I did it in stages, first one foot, then another after a few hours, etc.

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  8. TeguPuppy

    TeguPuppy Member

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    And now it's bedtime, and look who's been quietly hanging out with me while I read a book!

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    [​IMG]
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  9. Walter1

    Walter1 Moderator Staff Member 1,000+ Post Club

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    Your buddy.
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  10. TeguPuppy

    TeguPuppy Member

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    Fast forward to this morning, when I was soaking her so she could poop...she bit me. Just as hard as she could, lol.

    This is another reason I wanted to make a thread/journal. I want other people to see this. I think sometimes we get complacent around these animals and forget that they are still just that...animals. This isn't Alice's fault. This is my fault. I bought a wild animal and said "now you will be my pet". She didn't ask to be my pet. She doesn't understand that in Florida the state is paying people to kill her on sight. She doesn't understand that she's being rescued. All she knows is that there's a big annoying hairless monkey that keeps bugging her when all she wants is to be back in her natural habitat.

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    [​IMG]
  11. Walter1

    Walter1 Moderator Staff Member 1,000+ Post Club

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    Learn to read her. Likewise, she bites, yel NO!!
  12. TeguPuppy

    TeguPuppy Member

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    I did yell no...and I made sure I held her for a bit before I let her down (she was totally peaceful afterwards). And again, this was completely my fault, she warned me but I've been trying to avoid letting her win when she open-mouths me. I need to think of a way to back off without letting her know I'm backing off...

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  13. Tucker

    Tucker Member

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    Great thread! I'm going through the same process with my new buddy Bender. I got him from Mr. Irwin as well. He came out fairly tame, not very defensive or flighty just doesn't like being picked up mostly. Now I'm just trying to get him to trust and like me. Good luck!
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  14. Zyn

    Zyn Active Member

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    Have you tried any water training
  15. Walter1

    Walter1 Moderator Staff Member 1,000+ Post Club

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    If you mean a squirt bottle of cold water for bad behavior, that can be useful.
  16. Walter1

    Walter1 Moderator Staff Member 1,000+ Post Club

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    That would be helpful for you and others.
  17. AlphaAlpha

    AlphaAlpha Active Member

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    Hi I`m also new and although I`m at the other end of the great pond will look forward to sharing our stories and advise.
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  18. Walter1

    Walter1 Moderator Staff Member 1,000+ Post Club

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    Please do. Lots for all to learn.
  19. Zyn

    Zyn Active Member

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    No I mean like put her into bath water where she's forced to swim to your hand so she knows it's a safe place to be
  20. TeguPuppy

    TeguPuppy Member

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    I'm hesitant to have her associate the tub with danger, just bc I soak her there every morning so she can poop. Easier to clean and sanitize the tub each day than it is to mess around with a wash bin full of water that I need to drain.

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