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New Blue girl, looking for advice.

Tiarette

New Member
Messages
6
Hello Everyone,
I had posted a thread a couple weeks back looking for assistance in the enclosure section of the forums that got minimal bites. Last Sunday (2/20) we ended up with the juvenile Tegu abit earlier than anticipated. The woman we got her from said she was 6-8months old.
We're new tegu parents and are huge worry warts! I just want to make sure if what we're reading vs. experience from you all on the forum matches what we should be doing.

Taming Questions
Since bringing her home, She basked the first day but has hence gone to ground and popping up usually when we're not around. I have her in our main, high traffic area so she's getting all the noises of general life here as well as our voices. My husband and I talk to her even when she's burrowed when we're doing daily tank maintenance. She's only came up to bask once (2/23) since coming home. We do try to tong feed her in her enclosure when we do catch her out and about. Sometimes she might take a small piece. Other times she ignores us completely. I know she's nervous with it being a new place, new smells, new surroundings. She doesn't lash out, mostly just huffs and tries to run away if we pester her too much. We have not put a shirt or anything in the enclosure yet. Does this actually work?

My biggest questions, since its so 50/50 with how to "tame" down your tegu...when should we actively start trying to pick her up? Should we try to feed her outside of her enclosure? I've read everywhere never to dig them up or bother them in their hide and I don't want her to associate her coming out of her hide with being bombarded with people and touching and harassment but I also feel we're missing out on the bonding time needed. Am I rushing it too fast? I have a empty bedroom I'd like to sit with her in, let her explore and maybe feed her in but I don't want to rush her if its going to be more of a traumatizing experience getting her out of her cage vs. something she should enjoy. She does allow us to touch her when we're slow but you can see she's uncomfortable and stressed. Currently I just put a plate of food in her cage around 11am and remove it after she's come out to eat or its been a few hours and its almost time for lights out.



Food and Suppliments
The woman we got her from said she was eating canned cat food, greens and fruits.
I didn't get her any cat food as we have a large supply of fresh raw meats. I started her on chicken gizzards/watermelon/Collard Greens. Tried her on the zoomed canned tegu/skink can food since it was closer to the canned food she was used to eating (she didn't seem real interested) and am trying her on some ground turkey balls with greens mixed in today but she has yet to come up and eat today.
I've been using https://reptileslounge.com/blogs/blog/a-list-of-best-foods-for-tegus as a reference for the tegu feeding list and just trying a little bit of everything to spike her interest and roatating the meats and veggies for a good dietary balance. I've been offering her greens with each meal since she doesnt seem to be eating much if any of them. Is this ok? or too much greens?
With her being so young, should I try supplementing in some bugs/worms? Or is the raw meats/veggies/fruits ok for a 6mo old? We were planning around a hatchling so our research got tumpt on its head. Is that website correct as it says its maintained by you all here?
I am also dusting with Repti-Calcium with D3 every day and just did the first dusting of a Reptivite multivitamin Today and plan on doing the multivitamin twice weekly. I've heard mixed things with D3. The gentleman at the local reptile store who owns a red tegu stated that he uses the +D3 as it was hard to overdose them but I read elsewhere that it was really easy to OD on D3. Should I keep with the D3? or get calcium without?

Enclosure
I mad a post here: https://tegutalk.com/threads/prepping-for-new-tegu.21363/ a couple weeks ago trying to prep our enclosure prior to purchasing.
The current set up she's in is a 46x18x18 with an open glass front and mesh top which we covered with aluminum foil to maintain humidity.
We are using Reptibark mixed with reptisoil for her substrate and put some extra Sphagnum moss in the hide on the hot side. I was going to go with the top soil/play sand mix but the local hardware stores were completely out of play sand.
She has a hide on both the hot side and the cool side with the water bowl on the cool side. We also feed her on the cooler side of the tank.
Currently using a 100w basking bulb with a 160w Fluker's Sun spot UVA/UVB over the basking spot as well. The basking spot is 100-115F, the ambient in the hot area is only high 80s and the cool side typically stays in the 70s. At night we use a red 100w night heat bulb that keeps the warm area in the mid 80s. We also have a Zoo Med UVB/LED https://www.petmountain.com/product...MIvOCqopeZ9gIV8QytBh3ZSwyXEAQYAyABEgLha_D_BwE on the cool part of the tank. The reptile store stated this was one of the best UVBs currently and lasts close to 4 years since it was an LED. How true is this statement?
Also is it too much UVB? should I swap the 160w for another basking and just use the LED?
After reading and reading I feel that the ambient area around the basking spot is too low and should be in the 90s. Is there a better light set up to achieve this? Is the red light irratating also? should I go with a night time heat emitter?

We live in the midwest US so its currently winter. She's located in our basement so it gets cooler at night than the upstairs would and the humidity dips lower.

We use a pump spray mister currently. We can maintain 80+% humidity at night and 70s during the day on the hot end if we spray 2-3 times a day. We didn't realize a mesh top would hemorrhage so much humidity out the top.

The 8x4x4 will be arriving the first week of May. Is she going to outgrow the 46x18x18 before it arrives? Should I get a back up growtent? I have a Mist King system coming this week to help with maintaining the humidity. I purchased the medium sized Mist King as well after watching some reviews so it will be powerful enough to cover the 8x4x4 once we make that transition.
Are there any suggestions for my current and upcoming set up? Niche things that might not be common knowledge that just made life easier?

Transport
I have a really high rated exotic vet that about 30 minutes away. I have an appointment for her in April for a general wellness check up.
I bought a basic small dog taxi with the metal bars and plastic body for transport and plan on putting some fluffy towels in for her. Is this ok until she gets larger to harness? Should I cover the cage during transport as well or will it stress her out more?

I didn't know how long it would take for her to get tolerant of us but I really wanted to get her into see a vet asap for a general wellness. Is this too soon and too stressful for her with it only being a little over a month away?



Thank you guys for looking at my thread. I really hope to hear back from you all with your wealth of experiences! :)
In the mean time, I shall continue my research
 

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CaptainSpooky

New Member
5 Year Member
Messages
6
I'm getting a blue female in april and I'm super excited and also terrified haha. I've done a ton of research and my breeder has helped me out A LOT so here's the info I've collected that he's approved, hopefully it'll help you out!

Food and Supplements
Typically the rule is if there's UVB don't use D3 as uvb already provides that naturally, make sure you're using calcium with every non-whole food meal. I highly recommend getting a solarmeter https://www.solarmeter.com/product/model65r/ . They're expensive but SO worth it, takes all the guessing out of how much uvb your tegu is actually getting. Highest uvb (ferguson zone) should be around 2.6-3, with a gradient to the cooler side of the cage that goes to 0. It'll help you determine the layout of your tank (how high the basking spot should be, etc).

As far as food goes, Reptilinks are amazing, and they take out all of the work when it comes to thinking about the proper phosphorous/calcium ratio, I definitely recommend them :) https://reptilinks.com/collections/tegu

I dont think its a problem feeding them raw protein vs insects, my breeder feeds a raw mix. I'm sure it wouldn't hurt to have insects every now and then though!

Taming & Transport
To be honest I'm expecting the same behavior out of mine that you have with yours. Here are some vids I've been looking at!
(Rose City has a multitude of other videos that could help you out)

The "Do i take them out of their hide" question is always one i've struggled with, with ALL my animals. IDK what the answer is honestly, sometimes you have to get them out, for example to take them to a vet(which by the way a dog carrier is fine as long as they cant escape, a cover would also help them feel safe). If its an emergency and you gotta take them out you gotta take them out. Patience seems to be a good idea with these guys though and I think you're on the right track- it does take time! Some people leave their hand in the enclosure for long periods of time to get them adjusted to the idea that you're not there to hurt them, the rag-in-their-hide trick is also pretty recommended (no idea if it actually works but its worth a shot). Theres def more research I need to do on this, it never goes as planned lol.

Enclosure
A 46x18x18 is probably going to be fine until May, the general rule is the tank should be twice as long and as deep as the animal- if she can turn around comfortably and you have a proper heat gradient then she should be fine. A grow tent is a good idea anyway as a back up in case there is some kind of emergency or maintenance and you need to get them out of their main tank/need a temporary place for them to stay. Plus, you could always use it for its intended purposes when its not housing a tegu lol.

Here are my parameters:
Temps and Humidity:
Basking spot 115f-120f degrees
warm gradient 90f-95f
cool gradient 75f-80f
humidity 75-90%

Substrate:
depth: 14" at least for adults
mix: 1 part peatmoss, 1 part topsoil, 1 part sand OR pure cypress mulch/something that works for burrows and holds humidity

Feeding:
Diet: reptilinks (repashy calcium plus pinch every feeding w/out whole prey)
> 1 year: Feed every day, younger tend to eat more protein, as they get older add more veggies
1-2 years: Feed every other day
2+ years: Feed every 2-3 days

Lighting: You don't NEED to use arcadia but i've really liked their products so I've been using them- you can just use the equivalent.
Basking: Need to be halogen floodlights not LED, 2 arcadia halogen 100watt and 1 arcadia 80watt DHP (DHP for another less hot basking spot)

UVB: ferguson zone 3, 2.6-0 gradient
arcadia T5 12% desert or UV Flood 12% uV-B D3 desert, might need 2 when in the 8x4x4, probably need to be around 17-18 inches away from tegu's back but it depends if its going through a screen or not. Solarmeter is super useful here for this reason.
 
Last edited:

Tiarette

New Member
Messages
6
Hi captain!
Sorry it took so long to respond. Thank you so much for all the awesome info. It was immensely helpful!

Update:
I went the no D3 calcium route since she has good uvb exposure. We've been multivitamin dusting with calcium 2x a week.
I did order a solar meter and invested in a mistking with a hydrometer. I haven't installed the mistking yet (waiting for it for the 8x4x4)as we are able to maintain the humidity with alot of misting throughout the day.

After a couple weeks of hiding, she's a doll. She loves to cuddle and explore everything. We don't try to dig her up but i if she's just chillin in her hide she'll usually come out to us. She's not as skittish anymore and we have started feeding out of the cage to avoid impaction and are trying potty training. We were hoping puppy pads would work but she loves my good rug instead. Driving me nuts.

We've spoiled her rotten with food prepping I've never done for myself! But we're still cycling foods to see what she likes and doesn't like. I did order some reptilinks like you mentioned. I ordered the baby tegu pack (even tho she isn't a hatchling anymore) with quail egg. She tolerates them but they arent her favorite thing. She likes them without the casings more than with which is strange cause she loves tearing things apart.

The worry on the cage was correct sadly. She's still in her 46x18x18. When we got her she was 11inches, she's already up to 30 inches. If her 8x4x4 cage wasn't coming in 2 weeks I'd panic buy a grow tent. I try to keep her out of cage atleast 2-3 hours a day and let her roam and explore so shes not cramped. I was expecting growth spurts but geez!

The fight with guestimating wattages/lighting/heating for the 8x4x4 has begun and I have 0 idea where to start, We did invest in a 12% arcadia UVB. Looking at the powersuns everyone keeps talking about for basking spot and a heat emitter for night since the basement gets abit chilly.

Did you get your blue baby you were looking for this month?

Thanks again for your help and all that took a peek!
 

CaptainSpooky

New Member
5 Year Member
Messages
6
No worries, i'm glad I could help! There doesn't seem to be a whole lot of activity on here- I see a few new tegu owners but all the experienced ones don't seem to be active anymore, so I'm glad I was able to at least provide some useful information. :) Thats awesome progress! I'm so glad shes turning into a cuddle bug! It sucks about the tank, but at least you're getting it in 2 weeks...I was not expecting that kind of growth from her holy crap, now im panicking about my gu lmao.

For the lighting on the 8x4x4, usually what i've seen people use are 2 flood lamps(i've seen arcadia, power suns and even flood lamps from lowes lol) with the uvb strip(about 2/3rds of the tank length) in between the flood lamps. Probably a good idea to hook the flood lamps up to dimmer so your temps are regulated. I have mine on vivarium electronic's VE200 but there might be cheaper alternatives.

How have you handled taming? I got mine about a month ago, she's still scared of me but she does come out to explore. I've been trying not to force handle her at all, and let her just come to me, but she tends to avoid me most of the time. Whats worked for you? I've picked her up only to put her back into her tank and she hates it lol.
 

Tiarette

New Member
Messages
6
The thermastat looks like a really good investment. I'm definitely checking out the vids on them atm!

We left her alone mostly the first 2-3 weeks we had her. She stayed hidden most of the time in her hide and came out to eat when we weren't around. She was very skittish, would run when we walked in. We had her put in our primary area so she got used to seeing us working or playing most of the day. When I noticed she was awake, I would sit with my hand in the cage like many others mentioned here. I'd talk softly to her. Move her decor around and pretend to clean or mist the cage while she watched me from a corner or her hide. We also tore up both of some old pillow cases, tied them together for both of our scents and put it in her cage for a few days. She eventually let me touch her tail and under her chin without running but she would huff and puff. She never tail lashed or tried to bite. She was very patient with us.

With her current substrate, the husband didn't want her to eat in her cage for fear of impaction. I agreed. When the 3 weeks were up and she was beginning to get more brave, we started picking her up and taking her to the tile side of the basement to feed her and let her roam. She would still huff and run on occasion. Eventually she just got used to the routine. Every day around 3:30 was lunch time. Most of the time she's out ready for her food. If she wasn't awake, we'd pat her hide and she'd rumble out of the dirt to come eat. Once she got comfortable with that, we started taking her out before and after food time to she didn't just associate us with food. I'd let her hang out on my shoulder while I messed around on the PC or sit on the couch and watch some TV while she ran around the couch.

So far the best thing has been just consistent routine and don't be afraid to touch and handle them within reason of course. We were terrified of handling her because we didn't want to set her back as far as bonding or trust. The best thing we did was pull her out every day around the same time and bond with her over baths, food and TV chillin time. It also helped keeping her cage clean as she now has a potty routine as well. However, we are encrouching on guberty age so we'll see if she has any changes as she matures!

Overall my personal experience with our first tegu has been nothing but fantastic but boy oh boy is she growing like a weed! Don't know what I'm going to do when she gets 15+lbs and still wants to climb on our heads. :)
 

AnimalNerd

Member
Messages
44
They never grow out of thinking they can climb you no problem lol. They're like big dogs that think they're lap sized. Glad to see she's acclimated and it sounds like you're going above and beyond to ensure she has a great diet and lighting! I'm rebuilding his enclosure since it was inherited and not the best set up but I have my boy on 2 (soon to be 4 and switching to a different brand) 25w 30" uvb tubes on dimmer switches, a 250 w basking bulb in a brooder lamp, and a red 250 watt heat bulb ( you can get these at any feed store for chickens) hooked up to an automatic switch with a temperature gauge to keep the enclosure at an appropriate temperature at night. From what I've seen with uvbs tubes are better than bulbs and you want to position them so the lizard can be around 12 to 16" away when they bask (check the labels of whatever bulbs you decide to go with: the recommended distance changes depending on brand and Intensity). Tegus are at a Ferguson zone 3
 

Tiarette

New Member
Messages
6
Finally got our big girl tank done! woohoo!

 

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