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What I’ve learned so far as a tegu owner!!

So, I’ll start by saying NOBODY should believe anything they have read about “tegus” on the internet.care tips are pretty on point, but the rest is irrelevant from what I’ve learned.here are three things you’re told to avoid that I’ve found otherwise

1- avoid eye contact with your lizard
2- avoid rearranging or changing your tegus enclosure do to stress
3-never get your fingers close while feeding

number 1 is total crap.if eye contact with your lizard stresses him he simply has no trust in you.and it’s not because of the eye contact.you probably don’t handle it enough or are too forceful when you do.
2 again I don’t know why many people agree here.stitches(my tegu) has lots of bricks and blocks of different sizes, 2 water dishes and a pool, 2 logs, and some random stuff as always.the area he sleeps is the only thing I don’t change often.but the rest of his stuff I always slide around a little different so it’s not the same boring house every day.he is so used to it he comes to watch where I’m putting things and he will come out of his nap hole just to see me when I’m cleaning his glass.he comes out multiple times a day on his own and is very interested in EVERY THING, never a scared moment and he has never actually ran that I’ve seen yet.
3- i always interact with him while he’s eating.i wouldn’t if I got a large lizard and didn’t raise it but stitches has never made an aggressive move toward me.he has smacked my hand with his face turning to look but immediately disregards the fingers as not food.i started by petting his tail and back while tong feeding him crickets, and then I would hold him and tong feed him, I always have shown him my fingers at feeding time so there is always the thought for him that my hand is always nearby.
I really didn’t expect so much intelligence because I’ve had beardies and other medium lizards and snakes that are just not problem solvers.stitches loves to spend time with me and rarely passes up cuddle time.he is growing extremely fast and I couldn’t be happier with what I got.my neighbor ran an alligator rescue place in Florida and said he had seen about everything but never met a wild caught lizard as calm and personable as this one.thats why the last thing I would note is not to be afraid of wild caught tegus. Everybody told me to wait because he would be ten times the work over a homegrown lizard.hes ten times the fun, and he’s got that wild in him the captives are just missing.will have more updates in the future hope this was helpful. I’ll include pics of stitches and his 2x2x4 I built out of oak and an old aquarium.
 

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rantology

Member
I have never heard the eye contact thing, lol. Its like someone watched Jurrasic Park and wrote a tegu guide :D That's a great enclosure build, very clean! His ladder out is so precious, happy little gu
 

Josh

Administrator
Staff member
1,000+ Post Club
5 Year Member
I appreciate your assessment and experience but I did LOL a little how you were like "first: never listen to anything on the internet! now here's my experience re: tegus, posted on the same internet"

Sweet enclosure build btw
 
I am going to build a better down ramp but I had enough scraps from the tank to put one together.remember to use oak or maple only, I prefer oak personally.and the internet thing is funny, and I don’t want anyone to treat their animal like my experience will be theirs as well, but everyone should go into the relationship with their animal and base what they do on the day to day behavior and reaction the animal has, regardless what it is.they’re all different just like us people are
First pic is stitches over a month ago, second pic from two nights ago
 

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I added an in ground pool with a 2 inch drain valve works great for the doo doo and I keep a 75 watt red bulb as a night bulb / pool heater 24/7 and his daytimes just cycle on and off.i know it’s not relevant to the thread but stitches unfortunately can’t be kept in substrate.ive tried two different brand coco husk crap and pure soil and mulch, every time he gets pretty bad swelling in his eyes like they’re infected, so I clean the tank and quarantine him to a clean hoodie in an empty 10 gallon with water and constant 85+degrees for a few days and 3+hot baths a day and he clears up.happened 4 times now and I don’t understand so I cut up a bunch of fabrics and put them in a tote so he can dig in it and no dirt...he comes out about noon every day and I just take the tote out when I see he’s up, then I put it back in random places each night and turn the lights off and he goes right to it and passes out.hope this is helpful for anyone having substrate issues/ eye problems

also, my enclosure is fully floating on the wall.the legs are barely wedged under the corners for looks, but If you turn the corner and hit your foot on the leg it just falls over, no damage to foot or enclosure
 

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Yeah he is interested in everything and I’ve made a habit of letting him out every time he comes and rubs his face on the window(5-10 times a day usually)and now if nobody notices him he will run jump and flop against the glass to get our attention
 
So, I’ll start by saying NOBODY should believe anything they have read about “tegus” on the internet.care tips are pretty on point, but the rest is irrelevant from what I’ve learned.here are three things you’re told to avoid that I’ve found otherwise

1- avoid eye contact with your lizard
2- avoid rearranging or changing your tegus enclosure do to stress
3-never get your fingers close while feeding

number 1 is total crap.if eye contact with your lizard stresses him he simply has no trust in you.and it’s not because of the eye contact.you probably don’t handle it enough or are too forceful when you do.
2 again I don’t know why many people agree here.stitches(my tegu) has lots of bricks and blocks of different sizes, 2 water dishes and a pool, 2 logs, and some random stuff as always.the area he sleeps is the only thing I don’t change often.but the rest of his stuff I always slide around a little different so it’s not the same boring house every day.he is so used to it he comes to watch where I’m putting things and he will come out of his nap hole just to see me when I’m cleaning his glass.he comes out multiple times a day on his own and is very interested in EVERY THING, never a scared moment and he has never actually ran that I’ve seen yet.
3- i always interact with him while he’s eating.i wouldn’t if I got a large lizard and didn’t raise it but stitches has never made an aggressive move toward me.he has smacked my hand with his face turning to look but immediately disregards the fingers as not food.i started by petting his tail and back while tong feeding him crickets, and then I would hold him and tong feed him, I always have shown him my fingers at feeding time so there is always the thought for him that my hand is always nearby.
I really didn’t expect so much intelligence because I’ve had beardies and other medium lizards and snakes that are just not problem solvers.stitches loves to spend time with me and rarely passes up cuddle time.he is growing extremely fast and I couldn’t be happier with what I got.my neighbor ran an alligator rescue place in Florida and said he had seen about everything but never met a wild caught lizard as calm and personable as this one.thats why the last thing I would note is not to be afraid of wild caught tegus. Everybody told me to wait because he would be ten times the work over a homegrown lizard.hes ten times the fun, and he’s got that wild in him the captives are just missing.will have more updates in the future hope this was helpful. I’ll include pics of stitches and his 2x2x4 I built out of oak and an old aquarium.
All true!
 

Debita

Well-Known Member
GREAT PICS!! I love your little guy. I agree with everything you said - (LOL'd over the eye contact thing) BUUUUT....but but but... Without it being his fault, you could easily get bit one day by feeding with your hands. And when people say it's a nasty bite, that is an understatement. Prying your Tegus' jaw upward and off your hand is not just nasty - it's overwhelming pain.

I had been feeding the thawed mice to my adult male with my hand for quite some time, but made a bad judgement by thinking that feeding him one in the bath tub would be fun. (Shall I peel your grapes sire?) He lunged beautifully...like I've never before seen, and took hold of my thumb past the knuckle. That boy had his mouse by golly....and he wasn't letting go.

When they're little, they seem so un-intimidating. Just joyful little creatures. They will become adults though with DNA wired to hunt and conquer. We must respect that with a modicum of fear. Will I think this 5 years from now after everything appears to be worked out? ....Yes.
 
GREAT PICS!! I love your little guy. I agree with everything you said - (LOL'd over the eye contact thing) BUUUUT....but but but... Without it being his fault, you could easily get bit one day by feeding with your hands. And when people say it's a nasty bite, that is an understatement. Prying your Tegus' jaw upward and off your hand is not just nasty - it's overwhelming pain.

I had been feeding the thawed mice to my adult male with my hand for quite some time, but made a bad judgement by thinking that feeding him one in the bath tub would be fun. (Shall I peel your grapes sire?) He lunged beautifully...like I've never before seen, and took hold of my thumb past the knuckle. That boy had his mouse by golly....and he wasn't letting go.

When they're little, they seem so un-intimidating. Just joyful little creatures. They will become adults though with DNA wired to hunt and conquer. We must respect that with a modicum of fear. Will I think this 5 years from now after everything appears to be worked out? ....Yes.
Raising my Tegu I would make eye contact when he was very small but then I would look away I wouldn't stare at him and I would sit by him but face away from him doing that he became inquisitive of me and gravitated to me. He now pues in a corner on a rug, and hits it 95% of the time.
 
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