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General advice on taming / reclusive tegu

SeanM

New Member
Messages
12
Location
Ohio
Hello,

Around this time last year I adopted a formerly wild Florida tegu. She was 18"~ then and is around 32-34" long now, and other than a trip to the vet to get some antiparasite medications, she has been healthy. Her cages are a 3x3' connected to a 2x4', and the latter cage will be a 4x4' soon. General cage temp is around 80-85 and hot spots 95-100f using overhead bulbs. She has 18" and 24" reptisun bulbs as well (both ~12" from the ground) that I run from around 8am-7pm. I try to keep her humidity around 60-80% average, although I am still working on the consistency. There's always room for improvement. Her foods are quite varied and I follow the Tegus From Around the World food list. I introduced more mice, reptilinks, and small chickens since I last asked for advice/help in June.

The "issue" is that she's become rather reclusive over the last 3 months or so, and I'd like to interact with her more. When I leave for work at ~8am she is usually still asleep, and when I get home from work at ~5pm she is usually sleeping/hiding, but will come out sometimes when I talk to her (especially if she hasn't been fed in a day or two). If she doesn't respond to my talking I figure she is sleeping and try again later. I can tell she's out during the day though with kind gifts in the water bowl, mulch being moved, and her "toy" being moved around.

My interactions with her aren't negative as far as I can tell - I don't pick her up, and I don't take her out of her house. I do help her eat by handing her food with a fork, and she does pretty well with that. She doesn't seem to like being pet/scratched (I mostly try her back, gently), but she isn't afraid of me that I can tell. She used to puff up when I touched her, but doesn't do that any more.

I say "issue" because it's possible that is her personality, especially since she was a wild animal for around 6 months of her life. If that's her personality and she doesn't want to interact with me much, that is OK. She used to come out and run around the room for 20-30 minutes a day though, and I enjoyed that. When she came out I'd offer my hands to climb into, then set her on the floor.

My questions:
- Should I introduce occasional treats of some kind when she comes out of her house? I bought some mealworms, but they are much too small now.
- Since she doesn't seem to like being pet/scratched, are there other methods of positive interaction?
- Are gloves the enemy of positive interaction? I try not to wear them unless she's in a rather hungry/bitey mood. If she hasn't eaten for 3 days, it seem guaranteed that she will try to chew on something even though she's tasted me a few times

I realize this post is a small novel, but I wanted to be as descriptive as I could. Thanks for reading and your time.
 

AlphaAlpha

Well-Known Member
1,000+ Post Club
Messages
1,018
hey ...
First of all it sounds like you're doing a great job.
If you want her out to interact after work take her out ...... Unless you see clear signs of aggression I believe your fine and she'll soon settle into a routine and yes if you find something she likes as a treat by all means treat her.
I guess not all Tegus like being petted/scratched but Alpha loves me to scratch between his eyes extending my finger out right over the end of his nose so he can lick me.
Gloves are only negative to your Tegu if your Tegu acts negatively to the gloves.:D
 

Walter1

Moderator
Staff member
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5 Year Member
Messages
4,409
Not a novel, useful. You're doing a good job. I agree with Apha's advice.

When you are retrieving him, tell him so the same each time. Like "Hi buddy, time to come out for exercise".

Patting or just resting your hand on its back may be enough. Always talk to it about what is happening. As you would with a dog.
 

SeanM

New Member
Messages
12
Location
Ohio
Thanks much, I'll give that a try. I appreciate your help. In the past she has not liked being picked up (I scoop, not grab), but if I try it for a while maybe she will get into a routine.
 

Walter1

Moderator
Staff member
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She probably will, but might want off sooner or later than expected.
 

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