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Baby tegu keeps hiding

Michael Descant

New Member
Messages
3
I'm a new tegu owner. I got a columbian tegu baby 6 weeks ago, it was about 9 inches counting the tail at the time. I'm unsure of the sex but call him Charles.
Basic info: Right now he lives in a 40 gallon breeder tank with coconut fiber base, a baking rock under a ceramic heat emitter, a pool of water I change weekly or sooner if needed and a small dish or water I change daily. He has 2 pieces of mopani wood that make a hide and a ceramic log sitting on top of wet sphagnum moss. I must the enclosure once a day and the humidity is usually in the 70s but fluctuates some. The damp hide is are is pretty consistently 75-78 degrees, basking area is about 110 and the ambient temp is 80s to 90s. He has a straight florescent uvb light on a timer that comes on in the late morning and is on for 12 hrs. He has a fantastic appetite and eats readily. He gets crickets, cooked chicken, feeder fish, kiwi, and apple. I'm still experimenting with what else he likes. I dust his crickets and chicken with calcium. He had his first shed with me 2 weeks ago and had no problems with it.
Problem: I almost never see him out. I've only seen him out in the open 3 or 4 times in the 6 weeks I've had him. Everything I read said don't disturb tegus while they're hiding because it damages trust, but I don't like not being able to feed him. I don't want to leave food in his tank during the day because he does still get some live food and I also don't want the other food to spoil and have him get sick from eating it. Since he is pretty young, I reasoned that it's more important for him to eat than to worry about trust so I've actually been getting him out of wherever he is hiding to feed him. Occasionally I'll let him go a few days with out eating to see if he comes out and usually he doesn't. When I have him out he shows no sign of aggression towards me and rarely runs away. 90% of the time I can just scoop him up. He does not bolt from my hand or try to bite and often smells me repeatedly while I hold him.
Should I keep going like I am? Or am I just shooting myself in the foot and going to wind up with a wild tegu? I know I shouldn't dig him out of hiding but I'm afraid of him losing weight and developing health problems. I also know that each animal is an individual so might this just be the normal for my tegu since he always seems so easy going around me? He is active and alert when he's out, watching him go after crickets is really fun.

Thanks in advance to all you more experienced tegu owners and I'm sorry if this is over the top information.
15286040023152258039748885130887.jpg
 

grapebasil

Member
Messages
32
Also I’ve found that mealworms will usually stay in their little bowl; we use a quiche dish. Maybe finding some food source that is slightly less tasty but can be left in there and saving fun things for hand feeding?
 

Zyn

Well-Known Member
Messages
609
Try some thawed pinky mice he’ll go crazy for them and full his dietary needs much more than crickets or mealworms which are fine for small sized liazards like geckos
 

AlphaAlpha

Well-Known Member
1,000+ Post Club
5 Year Member
Messages
1,022
As long as he's not grumpy with you when you dig him out I'd carry on as you are, as it sounds like you are doing a fantastic job.... I dig Alpha out just about every day and he's about a year old, cause hes a little s*#t tending to only come out in his viv for a quick bask if I'm there.
 

grapebasil

Member
Messages
32
Try some thawed pinky mice he’ll go crazy for them and full his dietary needs much more than crickets or mealworms which are fine for small sized liazards like geckos
question: are frozen safer than live in terms of parasites? or just easier to buy in bulk?
 

Zyn

Well-Known Member
Messages
609
I have a small rat colony, so I know my feeders, but frozen does kill off any parasites. It’s easier because you don’t have a bunch of mice to take care of. Also pretty cost effective. I prekill all my feeders prior to giving them to my Tegu. For the Tegus safety and it’s just more humane.
 

EnjoysWine

Member
Messages
108
Location
Ontario, Canada
I have a small rat colony, so I know my feeders, but frozen does kill off any parasites. It’s easier because you don’t have a bunch of mice to take care of. Also pretty cost effective. I prekill all my feeders prior to giving them to my Tegu. For the Tegus safety and it’s just more humane.

How do you pre-kill them?
 

Walter1

Moderator
Staff member
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4,384
I do not know how Zyn dispatches/euthanizes his rodents. Typically, rodents are euthanized en masse with CO2. Individually, a mouse on a flat surface has a pencil resting crosswise over the neck firmly. A quick pull of the tail breaks the neck, and the mouse is dead immediately.

A tegu MUST eat whole prey. I do not say this lightly. It is an impossibility that the trauma associated with the method described above comes anywhere near that of it being fed while alive.
 

Zyn

Well-Known Member
Messages
609
Like Walter said once I have 20 or so babies at the correct size I buy a 1lb block of dry ice from tractor supply. Then put it in a cup, put that in a small rubbermaid with the small rats. They slowly fall asleep and soon after stop breathing. Cheap easy and humane. If I have none frozen at the right size since he’s growing so fast I use the pencil method to break the neck.
 

grapebasil

Member
Messages
32
Are tegus in danger of being attacked by prey the way bps are? Curious as to the live vs. frozen argument as it pertains to safety. And has anyone had trouble transitioning from live to frozen?
 

VenusAndSaturn

Active Member
Messages
114
I'd say most animals when fed live are always in danger of potentially getting hurt. Unless of course, it's something like a pinky mouse that can't fight back.

As far as transitioning from live to frozen/prekilled I've never had a problem.
 

Kre8sioN

New Member
Messages
20
my chacoan is about that age. im able to pop home for lunch / only work a few blocks away. but when I get home at the end of the day lately hes borrowed. when I make breakfast I make him a soft boiled only cutting up a little egg white and drizzle some yolk on it. he love the yolk. anyway at lunch he is still out and I give him a few small horned worms. someone on this site said a heathy tegu wont starve and I believe that. but as you say I will not dig him out of his borrow. btw horned worms are slow and easily dipped in calcium or vitamins. as for the above I have no idea. just posting my experience so far :) good luck keep us posted
 

Largelizards

Member
Messages
43
I'm a new tegu owner. I got a columbian tegu baby 6 weeks ago, it was about 9 inches counting the tail at the time. I'm unsure of the sex but call him Charles.
Basic info: Right now he lives in a 40 gallon breeder tank with coconut fiber base, a baking rock under a ceramic heat emitter, a pool of water I change weekly or sooner if needed and a small dish or water I change daily. He has 2 pieces of mopani wood that make a hide and a ceramic log sitting on top of wet sphagnum moss. I must the enclosure once a day and the humidity is usually in the 70s but fluctuates some. The damp hide is are is pretty consistently 75-78 degrees, basking area is about 110 and the ambient temp is 80s to 90s. He has a straight florescent uvb light on a timer that comes on in the late morning and is on for 12 hrs. He has a fantastic appetite and eats readily. He gets crickets, cooked chicken, feeder fish, kiwi, and apple. I'm still experimenting with what else he likes. I dust his crickets and chicken with calcium. He had his first shed with me 2 weeks ago and had no problems with it.
Problem: I almost never see him out. I've only seen him out in the open 3 or 4 times in the 6 weeks I've had him. Everything I read said don't disturb tegus while they're hiding because it damages trust, but I don't like not being able to feed him. I don't want to leave food in his tank during the day because he does still get some live food and I also don't want the other food to spoil and have him get sick from eating it. Since he is pretty young, I reasoned that it's more important for him to eat than to worry about trust so I've actually been getting him out of wherever he is hiding to feed him. Occasionally I'll let him go a few days with out eating to see if he comes out and usually he doesn't. When I have him out he shows no sign of aggression towards me and rarely runs away. 90% of the time I can just scoop him up. He does not bolt from my hand or try to bite and often smells me repeatedly while I hold him.
Should I keep going like I am? Or am I just shooting myself in the foot and going to wind up with a wild tegu? I know I shouldn't dig him out of hiding but I'm afraid of him losing weight and developing health problems. I also know that each animal is an individual so might this just be the normal for my tegu since he always seems so easy going around me? He is active and alert when he's out, watching him go after crickets is really fun.

Thanks in advance to all you more experienced tegu owners and I'm sorry if this is over the top information.View attachment 12798
I am basically in the same situation as you except I haven’t had him that long as I brought home my new red tegu that’s about 13 in long, 2days ago. He stays buried and I’m worried it will continue and I will be in your previous situation,so I’m wondering, what did you do, did you continue to keep digging him out or not? And in hindsight do you think you did the right thing, how are the results with your tegu?
 

Largelizards

Member
Messages
43
I'm a new tegu owner. I got a columbian tegu baby 6 weeks ago, it was about 9 inches counting the tail at the time. I'm unsure of the sex but call him Charles.
Basic info: Right now he lives in a 40 gallon breeder tank with coconut fiber base, a baking rock under a ceramic heat emitter, a pool of water I change weekly or sooner if needed and a small dish or water I change daily. He has 2 pieces of mopani wood that make a hide and a ceramic log sitting on top of wet sphagnum moss. I must the enclosure once a day and the humidity is usually in the 70s but fluctuates some. The damp hide is are is pretty consistently 75-78 degrees, basking area is about 110 and the ambient temp is 80s to 90s. He has a straight florescent uvb light on a timer that comes on in the late morning and is on for 12 hrs. He has a fantastic appetite and eats readily. He gets crickets, cooked chicken, feeder fish, kiwi, and apple. I'm still experimenting with what else he likes. I dust his crickets and chicken with calcium. He had his first shed with me 2 weeks ago and had no problems with it.
Problem: I almost never see him out. I've only seen him out in the open 3 or 4 times in the 6 weeks I've had him. Everything I read said don't disturb tegus while they're hiding because it damages trust, but I don't like not being able to feed him. I don't want to leave food in his tank during the day because he does still get some live food and I also don't want the other food to spoil and have him get sick from eating it. Since he is pretty young, I reasoned that it's more important for him to eat than to worry about trust so I've actually been getting him out of wherever he is hiding to feed him. Occasionally I'll let him go a few days with out eating to see if he comes out and usually he doesn't. When I have him out he shows no sign of aggression towards me and rarely runs away. 90% of the time I can just scoop him up. He does not bolt from my hand or try to bite and often smells me repeatedly while I hold him.
Should I keep going like I am? Or am I just shooting myself in the foot and going to wind up with a wild tegu? I know I shouldn't dig him out of hiding but I'm afraid of him losing weight and developing health problems. I also know that each animal is an individual so might this just be the normal for my tegu since he always seems so easy going around me? He is active and alert when he's out, watching him go after crickets is really fun.

Thanks in advance to all you more experienced tegu owners and I'm sorry if this is over the top information.View attachment 12798

Can you please give a response to my questions in last message? Short and sweet works too, thanks!
 

Walter1

Moderator
Staff member
1,000+ Post Club
5 Year Member
Messages
4,384
Unsure. Coyld be in 1-2 weeks he's settled/acclimated and begins daily active routine. Or coyld be after settling hin its brumation/overwintering time and activity decreases some to alot to completely for 1-4 mo.
 

BigRed78

New Member
Messages
2
I am basically in the same situation as you except I haven’t had him that long as I brought home my new red tegu that’s about 13 in long, 2days ago. He stays buried and I’m worried it will continue and I will be in your previous situation,so I’m wondering, what did you do, did you continue to keep digging him out or not? And in hindsight do you think you did the right thing, how are the results with your tegu?

Hi I’ve been reading a lot of your post on here, and I feel like I can really relate with your situation. My baby tegu is about 12 inches long, I got him at a reptile show. I’ve been doing so much research but for some reason I’m so nervous that he’s not really eating. The first day I got him home he ate like 2 small piece of chicken breast. It’s been 4 days all he ate are couple crickets and he’s been hiding in his hide pretty much all day long. I have him in a 4 feet x 4 feet kiddie pool, I have his hide next to the basking light with 100 watt bulb and reptisun 5.0 uvb.What would you suggest? Today marks 5 days and he ate like 6 crickets total and 2 pieces of small chicken breast.
 

Walter1

Moderator
Staff member
1,000+ Post Club
5 Year Member
Messages
4,384
Hi I’ve been reading a lot of your post on here, and I feel like I can really relate with your situation. My baby tegu is about 12 inches long, I got him at a reptile show. I’ve been doing so much research but for some reason I’m so nervous that he’s not really eating. The first day I got him home he ate like 2 small piece of chicken breast. It’s been 4 days all he ate are couple crickets and he’s been hiding in his hide pretty much all day long. I have him in a 4 feet x 4 feet kiddie pool, I have his hide next to the basking light with 100 watt bulb and reptisun 5.0 uvb.What would you suggest? Today marks 5 days and he ate like 6 crickets total and 2 pieces of small chicken breast.
Does he have good form? Not skinny?
 

Largelizards

Member
Messages
43
Hi I’ve been reading a lot of your post on here, and I feel like I can really relate with your situation. My baby tegu is about 12 inches long, I got him at a reptile show. I’ve been doing so much research but for some reason I’m so nervous that he’s not really eating. The first day I got him home he ate like 2 small piece of chicken breast. It’s been 4 days all he ate are couple crickets and he’s been hiding in his hide pretty much all day long. I have him in a 4 feet x 4 feet kiddie pool, I have his hide next to the basking light with 100 watt bulb and reptisun 5.0 uvb.What would you suggest? Today marks 5 days and he ate like 6 crickets total and 2 pieces of small chicken breast.

Greetings BigRed. I’m not one to give a lot of advice since I’m new to owning Tegu, but since you asked I’ll share what I’ve learned and if I’m wrong someone can point that out.

First, answer Walters question as unless he looks emancipated, dehydrated, or Physically unfit, you don’t have much to worry about as far as not eating a lot yet, it’s only been 4 days.

Some people say to just leave them alone for a week and not even feed them because they’re not gonna want to take food from you. The fact that he already ate some food from you is a good sign. They can and will go long periods without eating periodically. especially in winter time they can go into brumation and not eat for months.

Also they love to hide all day this is very normal, Especially at first. They should have a deep substrate, I like to give at least 6 inches. Tegus love to borough and shouldn’t be deprived of this.

Pictures of setup would help, if you’re have a screen between UVB source it will be cut in half and if it’s too far away you’re not gonna get enough. You could get 10.0 uvb instead, or keep the one you have add another. Watch the temps with a temp gun, You can get a good one on Amazon for like around $15 or so. I have Etekcity brand. Make sure basking spot is 110 F -100. And cool side is mid 70s to 85. You want to create a temperature gradient but also a UVB gradient . Also make Sure there is a humidity gradient, The substrate shouldn’t be soaking wet but should have at least a 75% or so humidity, But I also have some less humid for different option.
 

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