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Overweight Tegus, the hows, the risks and how to avoid it.


5 Year Member
Hello I am fairly new to the forum and you presented some really sound information here. Two things you mentioned I found very interesting. Your suggested bench mark temps seem a bit high. I thought a high 120's was max for Gu's. I am still adjusting mine to be perfectly at about 124 to 125 at it's hottest area, with an air temp of 84.5. Humidity at 30-40%

Second is this comment " bio-activity or leaf litter for foraging (good for mental stimulation too!" As interesting as this sounds I am ignorant of your meaning. What is bio-activity? What is leaf litter for foraging? Do you mean hide things in their substrate so they can forage? I associates foraging with an animal search for it's food source, is this your meaning?

I also agree with the water activity. When BOGA get out of his 15 min max bath time, he is wiped out. He is so tired after he don't even want to burrow in, he just lays on top of his substrate and sleeps.

Lastly I posted a pic of my baby BOGA. He is 3 1/2 months old. He was born Sept 3rd. Any comment of his weigh would be appreciated I am guilty of providing a high protein diet but I do offer white grapes , which is his favorite, and I give him a pinky once a week. I also grind kale into his ground Turkey. Salmon is also his favorite and he eats that mostly. No DOG FOOD FOR BOGA, he's not a dog. Well that just my preference for my baby.

Thank you for your post I feel there is a lot of good information you have provided in this post. Please continue postingView attachment 13307 .
Increasing your humidity will be crucial to healthy sheds and proper digestion. My humidity never drops below 60% (except on the dry days which I use to mimic Argentina's weather) and my 1 year old tegu is in perfect health


New Member
hello all. I have a new baby red. i may have asked about them once or twice. but anyway my little man since I received him has been getting ground turkey, gizzards, talpia and salmon rolled into a meat ball. he usually chows it down really well however the past few days I have noticed he has not been wanting to eat much. His temps are a little lower in the enclosure hot side ranging about 92 and the cool side about 80 he doesnt look skinny or anything im just concerned caused he is so young hatch late march. what would you guys and gals recommend what temperatures at night do you recommend these guys hang around?

I hope I have not been causing the little guy harm. I did not start him on crickets and roaches. should i convert him or just allow him to eat the food he has been eating.
I usually take ground turkey, salmon that i mash up, cut up chicken gizzards into small little chunks, and have talapia in slivers. make this into meatballs and freeze in a tuper ware. each morning cut a bit of the meat ball thaw in luke warm water and place into his dish...

Is this bad for the little one. he does get calcium sprinkled on the feedings every other day.


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James Smith

Active Member
I keep my air temp at 85 to 86 on the hot side 76 to78 on the cool side, with the basking temp at 120 to 124. At night the the heat emitter keeps the enclosure at a cool 76 to 78.


Staff member
1,000+ Post Club
5 Year Member
Jame's temps are ideal., and your's are fine. Could be that your tegu needs to process and poop extra. Add contents of fish oil pill to every or every other meal. Good for skin, shedding, and pooping.


Well-Known Member
1,000+ Post Club
5 Year Member
Don't mash the same foods up into a meatball every day ..... offer variety day by day

would you like the same thing every meal day in day out???

Dude Bro Man 433

New Member
Hi, I wish I had found this post yesterday before I posted a new topic. I have just copied and pasted my post to this topic. Anyway,..I have two juvenile tegus almost 3 months old, One is a blue red hybrid (Zane) and the other is a red (Rex).

Rex hatched out with limb reductions of both front legs. He was shipped to me accidentally and the people that sent him apologized and offered to exchange him for another but I couldn't put him through the shipping process again. Does anyone else have any experience with this kind of thing? Rex gets around ok for the most part as long as the surface he is on isn't to smooth. I do worry about his mobility as he grows and gains weight. He is a good eater but not very active. I have tegu proofed the very large master bathroom and put in a uvb heat bulb for them to bask in while they are in there so they eat and can get exercise but the only exercise Rex seems to be interested in is the walk from his food dish to the blanket I have down for them to hide in. I have been feeding mostly lean ground turkey with hard boiled eggs and will rotate f/t pinkies and organ meet. I always offer crickets, dubia, and meal worms but Rex can't move fast enough to get the dubia. He can sometimes catch a cricket. I guess I need to take him off the turkey and feed more pray items. He has no interest in fruit at all but he is still a baby.The first pic is what I saw right after I opened the package. I have to say I was pretty heart broken at first.



5 Year Member
Just for comparison, here’s a tegu in the wild — my son was in Buenos Aires, Argentina for a tournament and took this photo for his tegu-loving mom


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Dude Bro Man 433

New Member
Try sticking to rodents one a week, I’d feed mice over pinkies , then once he gets to jumbo mice switch him to small rats. Salmon is another good staple. Helps with shedding and good fat content .

Éva's Tegus

New Member
I just wanted to give a little background and input on overweight tegus. Most of the tegus you see in the pet trade today are heavier than what they should be. See a wild tegu in South America and they are very LEAN and active. Of course being that our tegus are not roaming the wild and are being delivered a plate full of food without having to work for it, ours are going to be a bit heavier, HOWEVER there is a different in a thicker captive tegu and an OBESE tegu. Weights and numbers dont mean anything, its all about how much fat they are carrying on their body frame. so a small body frame that is X amount of pounds can be overweight while a larger body frame with the same amount of pounds is just fine... same with humans. Also just as with humans being overweight dramatically effects their health. Internal organs, especially the liver is damaged, poor muscle tone from being too heavy to be active, low fertility rates, and shortened life span.

The main cause of obesity is too low of temps and too much protein in their diet. Too much protein means foods like ground turkey, organ parts and other foods that do not have bones, skin, etc. (anything other than whole prey) Red tegus are more prone to obesity since their diet requires a higher fruit content and often they don't eat as much fruit as they should..

Ways to get your tegu to lose weight include providing a basking spot of at least 120, preferably 130-135.coinciding with good ambients. Do not free roam your tegus. Feeding small, healthy and often meals. Healthy food choices such as whole prey and FRUITS! Fruits are a vital part of losing weight. Good hydration - humidity and fruits make a difference. Increase their activity, give deep substrate for digging, bio-activity or leaf litter for foraging (good for mental stimulation too!) Water therapy, placing them in a tub of warm water increases activity for some, but not all. Exercise times where they can roam around a room or an escape proof yard supervised, as well as tong feeding and target training that makes them work for their food (in my experience this has never caused food aggression)

This is Leo when he first came into the rescue over a year ago. He was incredibly obese and has suffered organ damage from it. Even his xrays showed his fat layer. It took just over 6 months to get him to a proper weight and the difference in his body and his activity is amazing. The first picture is of him at his heaviest. The other pictures are of him now.Only 4lbs lighter but 4lbs on a tegu is a big difference.

I agree completely with this, it is so important to emphasize what they are actually doing in the wild and not focus on what may be cute or attractive to the human eye.

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