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Proper Cage Size

Toby_H

New Member
1,000+ Post Club
5 Year Member
I am in the planning stage of building a new cage for my female B& W Tegu. Due to size restraints of my home, I have decided to go with a 7Ã?¢ââ??‰â??¢ (long) x 2.5Ã?¢ââ??‰â??¢ (deep) @ 3.25Ã?¢ââ??‰â??¢ (tall) cageÃ?¢ââ??¬Ã?¦

As the old saying goes, Ã?¢ââ??¬Ã?â??opinions are like xxxholes, everyone has one and most of them stinkÃ?¢ââ??¬Ã?â??Ã?¢ââ??¬Ã?¦

So as opposed to just sharing conclusions, I would like to hear facts or logic behind your opinion on adequate cage sizes.

Some thoughts I have considered is what size tank would cause growth be stunted, what size tank would cause deformities (bent spine for example), at what size tank would cause other health risks/concerns, what size tank would cause aggression problems, etcÃ?¢ââ??¬Ã?¦

How important is it to consider gender/adult size of the specimen. Males are well known to be (on average) 1Ã?¢ââ??‰â??¢ (or 33%) longer than females as well as have higher mass. Is it thus logical to conclude that a male would have considerably higher minimum requirements before problems occur?

The two references IÃ?¢ââ??‰â??¢ve heard most commonly are Ã?¢ââ??¬Ã?â??8Ã?¢ââ??‰â??¢ x 4Ã?¢ââ??‰â??¢ minimumÃ?¢ââ??¬Ã? and Ã?¢ââ??¬Ã?â??the TeguÃ?¢ââ??‰â??¢s length by double the TeguÃ?¢ââ??‰â??¢s lengthÃ?¢ââ??¬Ã?ÂÃ?¢ââ??¬Ã?¦ But I have never heard factual or even logical discussion as to why these should be considered minimums.

Additionally, how much consideration should be given to Ã?¢ââ??¬Ã?â??out of cage exerciseÃ?¢ââ??¬Ã? offered to the animalÃ?¢ââ??¬Ã?¦ or a Ã?¢ââ??¬Ã?Å?summer homeÃ?¢ââ??‰â??¢ such as an outdoor cage that they spend long periods in several times a weekÃ?¢ââ??¬Ã?¦

I may be overstepping my bounds to say this part, but I do hope we stay mature and respectful supporting our ideas with facts and logic and not defending them with condescending accusations of those who disagree.
 

Toby_H

New Member
1,000+ Post Club
5 Year Member
IÃ?¢ââ??‰â??¢ve only had my girl for 1.5~2 years so I donÃ?¢ââ??‰â??¢t feel Ã?¢ââ??¬Ã?Å?qualifiedÃ?¢ââ??‰â??¢ to speak with much Ã?¢ââ??¬Ã?Å?authorityÃ?¢ââ??‰â??¢ on this subject, but I thought IÃ?¢ââ??‰â??¢d open with some thoughtsÃ?¢ââ??¬Ã?¦


Last summer my girl (female B&W) grew from 2Ã?¢ââ??‰â??¢ to 3Ã?¢ââ??‰â??¢ while living on a 6Ã?¢ââ??‰â??¢ x 10Ã?¢ââ??‰â??¢ balcony/deck. She also had a 4Ã?¢ââ??‰â??¢ x 2Ã?¢ââ??‰â??¢ x 2Ã?¢ââ??‰â??¢ cage on the deck with the door propped open.

During that time she would (almost) daily Ã?¢ââ??¬Ã?â??exploreÃ?¢ââ??¬Ã? the entire deck, but spent the bulk of her time in 3~4 choice spots. She had a sun bathing area (middle of the floor in front of the door), a cool/shade area (on a towel beneath a table), in her cage (comforts of home) and on top of her cage where she caught nice evening breezesÃ?¢ââ??¬Ã?¦

I was surprised at how much time she spent lounging in her cage not buried in mulch. There were some days she never left her cage despite the door never being closed. She buried herself in the mulch every night to sleep.


So with that experience, she didnÃ?¢ââ??‰â??¢t utilize that much space and was quite comfortable in her limited cageÃ?¢ââ??¬Ã?¦ But she did Ã?¢ââ??¬Ã?Å?exploreÃ?¢ââ??‰â??¢ just about every dayÃ?¢ââ??¬Ã?¦


I do not agree with keeping a Tegu in a small cage and relying on free roaming to give them their required exercise. ItÃ?¢ââ??‰â??¢s too easy for life to change or otherwise get in the way and this not happening as often as it should. How many people get a dog thinking daily walks will be great and two years later one walk a week is Ã?¢ââ??¬Ã?â??doing goodÃ?¢ââ??¬Ã?Â. While a sick child is a higher priority than a TeguÃ?¢ââ??‰â??¢s free roaming time, just because your child is sick doesnÃ?¢ââ??‰â??¢t change your TeguÃ?¢ââ??‰â??¢s needs.


I would like to suggest that having Ã?¢ââ??¬Ã?â??stuffÃ?¢ââ??¬Ã? in the Tegu cage is very important. IÃ?¢ââ??‰â??¢ve watched my girl spend hours pulling, tugging and flipping a dry towel moving it 10Ã?¢ââ??‰â??¢ away and laying on it looking quite accomplished. Having a large object (such as a tree stump) that Ã?¢ââ??¬Ã?Å?breaks the line of sightÃ?¢ââ??‰â??¢ in the cage could also help. By providing an Ã?¢ââ??¬Ã?â??over thereÃ?¢ââ??¬Ã? that she cannot see can help satisfy her need to explore. Also, Tegus are Ã?¢ââ??¬Ã?Å?arborealÃ?¢ââ??‰â??¢ but I was surprised at how much and how well my girl would climb. So I believe that providing a shelf can give the Tegu a way to exert energy and a new area to explore. Not to mention that a shelf increases usable square footage.


Even after all of this thought IÃ?¢ââ??‰â??¢m hesitant to suggest XÃ?¢ââ??‰â??¢ by YÃ?¢ââ??‰â??¢Ã?¢ââ??¬Ã?¦

IÃ?¢ââ??‰â??¢m currently building a 2.5Ã?¢ââ??‰â??¢ x 7Ã?¢ââ??‰â??¢ but it took a lot of mental gymnastics to make that decision. If I didnÃ?¢ââ??‰â??¢t have the 10Ã?¢ââ??‰â??¢ x 6Ã?¢ââ??‰â??¢ deck as an option for summertime I donÃ?¢ââ??‰â??¢t think I would have allowed that decision to be made. Also if my girl wasnÃ?¢ââ??‰â??¢t just pathetically friendly I wouldnÃ?¢ââ??‰â??¢t have made that decision. SheÃ?¢ââ??‰â??¢s extremely easy to let free roam (in the house as well as on the deck).


IÃ?¢ââ??‰â??¢d also be hesitant to say XÃ?¢ââ??‰â??¢ by YÃ?¢ââ??‰â??¢ because I feel some of the ideas above can make a huge difference. I think a 6Ã?¢ââ??‰â??¢ x 3Ã?¢ââ??‰â??¢ with a shelf, a large stump, a nice water feature, a towel and plenty of mulchÃ?¢ââ??¬Ã?¦ would be better than a 8Ã?¢ââ??‰â??¢ x 4Ã?¢ââ??‰â??¢ empty box with a hide in the corner.
 

Adam87

New Member
5 Year Member
i bulit a 6x3x3 enclosure and he seems to like it alot even thou hes hibernating its big enough for him to explore and walk around but not small enough for any health issues and yea it does take up alot of space but the top also doubles as a tv stand and for other cages to go on top of so its a cage and a table haha
 

Toby_H

New Member
1,000+ Post Club
5 Year Member
Adam87 said:
i bulit a 6x3x3 enclosure and he seems to like it alot even thou hes hibernating its big enough for him to explore and walk around but not small enough for any health issues and yea it does take up alot of space but the top also doubles as a tv stand and for other cages to go on top of so its a cage and a table haha
How long is your Tegu? Holw old? Boy or girl?

What were some of the considerations you went through before makign the decision on 6 x 3 x 3?

I'm not at all criticizing your decision, just wondering on the background to it.
 

Adam87

New Member
5 Year Member
well hes male and about 3-4 months old the enclosure was orginaly for my 2ft long male savannah monitor but he past away on me 6x3x3 was the min for a savannah after he past i kept the cage cause i always wanted a Tegu and i wasnt sure if it would be big enough but there are alot of tegu owners that have 6x3 enclosurers more so than 8x4's i guess it more what space u have to work with in my opioion i think this cage that i have will be fine for the rest of his life cause i let my iguana, beardie and tegu reun around my room for most ofthe day for the exception of my iguana they eat out side of the cage and sometimes even go to the bathroom ( i have a tile floor in my room so its easy to clean) for the most part they just bask and sleep in the enclosurers
 

isdrake

New Member
5 Year Member
It is an interesting issue that I believe should be addressed more often. It feels like the majority of all the people choose as small enclosure as possible. But even a small enclosure for a Tegu can be a pretty big object in an apartment or a house. So I can clearly see the issue.

Both Agama internationa and Teguterra recommends at least be 8' (244 cm) by 4' (122 cm) for one adult Tegu (however Teguterra also says 6' by 3' will be okay). However Varnyard recommends only at leat 6' (183 cm) by 3' (91 cm) as the minimum size.

These two recommendations are very different, one is almost twice as big as the other. So who to trust?

Apparently people think that Bobbys (Varnyard) are correct because it seems like 6' (183 cm) x 3' (91 cm) are the standard dimension on this forum. And then the question is; is this because people think that 6x3 is the optimal caging size or is it because it's the smallest size (less problematic, more space for other stuff)?

I wonder how the standard dimension would look like if Bobby, like the others recommended 8' x 4'?

Personally I think that 6 x 3 is WAY to small for an adult Tegu. We house our bearded dragon Zelda in a terrarium just slightly smaller then that. I wound't dream on putting a Tegu in it. But according to many people that would be just fine. But I just can't picture it, I would feel terrible about myself.

I think that Agama international and Teguterra recommendations work fine as minimum size dimensions. It's not good but it's decent (just like minimum size should be). And if we are going to be more specific I think it's for females. Males who get bigger would need a little more space.

Tegus are large (and pretty active) creatures. Which means they also do require large living space. I think the principle should be to keep the Tegu (and other reptiles) in areas that provide them to behave naturally.

What kind of animal you have? How do they live in the wild? How does it behave in nature? Find out as much as you can about the environment and try to copy it in your terrarium. I don't think you can provide a good environment in a 6 x 3 cage. I would be able to do it for our bearded dragon (the cages is till WIP) in that space but I would never be able to do that for a Tegu.

And this doesn't only include the size. I have seen many empty Tegu enclosures with just a water bowl and a hide. This isn't very natural and I think a Tegu need more than that. I don't know if Tegus get bored (reptiles in general doesn't) but I'm sure they can get stressed if their environment isn't satisfying (for example enough number of hiding places).

Well how about outside enclosures?. If you have an large outside enclosure and a small inside enclosure? Awesome, they probably feel very good being outside (if the environment is good) and this should definitely be taken to account. If you house your Tegu outside it's whole awaken period you can probably have a pretty small cage for hibernation since then don't really need space during that time. So I guess it depends on how long you will be able to house your Tegu outside.

And what about freeroaming? People seems to let their Tegus out a lot. I think free roaming can be good but I don't think it can fully replace it's "fake natural environment" inside the enclosure. I don't think it's okay to house your Tegu in a small enclosure if you let if out in the apartment/house as compensation. But hey what do I know, maybe you have a room full of dirt, trees and other stuff. :p

Free roaming can be a nice bonus. But the circumstances must off course be right. Humidity, heat and such. And this very much depends on where you live (or if you can somehow change the circumstances in the room/house/apartment). I don't think to many people live in Tegu friendly environment. It can be pretty dry inside a house/apartment which will hurt the Tegu.

If you don't have the right circumstances inside their you live you should make sure the Tegu spends as much time as possible inside it's enclosure. And I must admit that I'm a little jealous of those who live in a Tegu friendly enviroment.

If you are able to let your Tegu freeroam I still think it deserves a decent living space so that he/she isn't depending on you. Toby_H made a good point about this.


The fact that Tegus are big makes them problematic. Personally getting a Tegu is a HUGE project. We live in a small apartment (two rooms and one kitchen). Getting a large lizard who requires large space was never our plan. But we fell in love with the Argentine B/W Tegus.

So we made our whole apartment and all our furniture as a 3D models (well the large ones anyway). And then we moved the 3D furnitures around in our virtual apartment to see if we could fit a large enclosure. We came up with four different designs what would worked and picked the biggest one.

After that we had to rearrange the whole apartment except for the kitchen and the tv. We also had to get two smaller tables and give away our old ones. Now we are building the enclosure. It's about 10' (300cm) x 5' (150 cm) x 4' (120cm).

The plan was to get one Tegu but we ended up with two. So this might be a little to small. I hope to be able to buy a house in the future and in that case we will build an outside enclosure. But if we only get a bigger place to live in we can expand the enclosure.

I think they are worth all the trouble, all the space and all the money. Such remarkably creatures. :D I love them so much.
 

isdrake

New Member
5 Year Member
I found this interesting site about enclosures and wanted to share it. I think the dimensions they use works pretty well.
<!-- m --><a class="postlink" href="http://www.anapsid.org/enclsize.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://www.anapsid.org/enclsize.html</a><!-- m -->
 
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