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My tegu thinks I'm food....help please

Discussion in 'Black and White Tegu Discussion' started by Bianca Rosato, Oct 2, 2018.

  1. Bianca Rosato

    Bianca Rosato New Member

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    Okay so I have a 2.5 month old female argentine black and white tegu. I've had her since she was a hatchling and I co-own her with my boyfriend. We currently feed her a variety of insects including superworms, hornworms, nightcrawlers, crickets, Dubias, etc. We also feed her fish occasionally, ground turkey, chicken breast occasionally, chicken liver, gizzard, and heart, and eggs. She recently started eating fruits and vegetables in the past few weeks, and her favorites are blackberries, grapes, blueberries, strawberries, and carrots. We feed her every day at the exact same time, and we allow her to eat until she's full. We also often hand feed her. We never feed her live prey, and we have never given her a whole prey item. We take her out several times a day, not just for feeding, and we never feed in the tank.

    Recently she has been attacking me like I'm food... I know that sounds so weird but I don't know any other way to put it. She'll sniff me a couple times, twist her head, and strike. I know it's not aggressive because she sniffs first, and I don't think it has anything to do with hand feeding because she'll do it to my arms, feet, legs, toes, etc. She's even bit me on my face before. Right now it doesn't hurt or cause much damage, but when she's older it could be a serious problem. The thing is - she has never done this to my boyfriend, who also hand feeds.

    I'm really confused and worried. Am I not spending enough time with her? Should I stop hand feeding? Maybe I should make sure she's full before handling? Maybe I just smell like food...????!? Please help!!
  2. Adramelec

    Adramelec New Member 5 Year Member

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    It could be the handfeeding, but I think it could be your smell, do you use body lotion, cream or something like this? my boy reacts a lot when I use lotion.
    AlphaAlpha likes this.
  3. AlphaAlpha

    AlphaAlpha Active Member

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    I agree it could a lotion or something you use ....... but it could be she is testing boundaries and trying to work her place within the group/pack.
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  4. Zyn

    Zyn Active Member

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    I’d suggest feeding whole items as to stated you’ve never fed a whole item could be she’s hungry and lacking some calcium. But i doubt its that as much calcium your fingers might have I don’t think that’s it.

    My blue still does this from time to time, I Just don’t stick my fingers in his face. Are you handling it after you’ve messed with food of any kind?
  5. Bianca Rosato

    Bianca Rosato New Member

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    I put calcium on everything she eats, and I use a multivitamin 2x a week. I haven't given whole prey just because it's a lot less convenient than what I'm giving her now, but I'm not opposed to trying that and I likely will soon. And i try to wash my hands before handling, but I could probably be better about that. Thank you for your advice!
  6. rosieuk

    rosieuk New Member

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    If you only have your hands around her face when you are feeding her she might think you're automatically giving her dinner and have an exploratory nibble - you'd know if it was a feeding bite - they hurt and even a two year old will bite straight through a fingernail.
    You do not want to be bitten by an adult animal confusing you for food - Priscus bit the inside of my knee when I was sat with him and the bruising stopped me walking for two days - and he lost a tooth (I suspect that might have been behind it) - they've a 1000N bite force and love to death roll.
    Try spending time with the animal without food and stroke its head and face gently - once it gets used to your scent it will be able to tell the difference between mummy (don't bite) and mummy + food (bite carefully). You are perfectly right in not wanting to get bitten by an adult - a bite & roll could very easily snap bones in your hands and it's not easy to get them to let go.
    What do you mean precisely by *sniffs* - do you mean she tongue flicks or do you mean she makes a sound? It might be you're upsetting her for some reason if she's making a heavy breathing noise - also watch her tail - they snake them when they're annoyed.
    I'm not sure why she's biting at every part she can reach - the face worries me especially - but are you washing with or using a product with a fruit fragrance? Even if you think it's dissipated an animal *will* detect it. Try to remember the first time it happened - I wouldn't be at all surprised if it's when you started feeding fruit if that's the case. It's the only thing I can think of that'd get everywhere on your skin.
    Another possibility is are you recently pregnant? That would trigger a change in scent - and maybe a reaction from the Tegu..
  7. Bianca Rosato

    Bianca Rosato New Member

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    This was very helpful! By sniff I mean the tongue, because of the Jacobson’s organ. She never hisses at me, never tail whips me, and never shows any sign of aggression. She is incredibly sweet and kind. It’s kind of like you said - exploratory biting, preceded by a couple tongue flicks. It could be my perfume? I’m not sure, but I’m not recently preganant or experiencing anything that would change my scent. Thank you for your reply! I’m just gunna keep working on taming and handling. She’s gotten better about this is the past few weeks.