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Rediculous food response

Discussion in 'General Tegu Discussion' started by beardeddragon111, Apr 7, 2018.

  1. beardeddragon111

    beardeddragon111 Active Member

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    My tegu had an insane food response recently. He went right for my hands when trying to feed him, tried to jump out the cage. It was worrying because he was after ME. At one point he lunged at my hand and only missed it by an inch. How do you guys deal with a food response like that? It's completely over the top, and it's not like he's being underfed either.
  2. Walter1

    Walter1 Moderator Staff Member 1,000+ Post Club

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    Next time be ready with sprayer with ice-cold water. Spray him a bunch and yell NO a few times. You can even offer him a closed fist so as not to lacerate fingers.
    onnie0047 likes this.
  3. Gary

    Gary Member

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    I think that could cause some serious trust issues... Food aggression is often caused by lack of enrichment, not enough food, or not enough variety (meaning missing nutritional components in the diet). I would recommend ensuring everything with the tegu’s diet is completely in order before I ever sprayed an ectotherm with ice cold water and yelled at it.
  4. Zyn

    Zyn Active Member

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    I’m going to agree with Walter here. Being one of the few times I’ll treat Sev like a dog. He currently has a extreme response. He gets the correct diet and more. I started feeding him in my bathroom, and any time he comes for my hand I yell No and close my fist. He calms down quickly, and over the last few weeks is getting better. He’s a year old almost and growing like a weed.

    Just be careful, maybe use a cut proof construction glove.
    onnie0047 likes this.
  5. beardeddragon111

    beardeddragon111 Active Member

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    I think it might have to do with the fact that it's spring and excites them. Im gonna be sure to stuff him full anyway though. And yeah I'll be using some heavy duty gloves next feeding I don't wanna be losing my fingers.

    Also, I'll try providing more enrichment to him as well. He gets a proper diet, but I feel like it would help anyway.

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  6. Gary

    Gary Member

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    Just a few weeks ago mine was beginning food aggressive behaviors. I immediately removed the food and took him out to explore and spend time with me. When I placed him back he calmly took food as normal.

    While yelling can cause a fear response that temporarily “calms,” it’s important to find what is driving the response. Giving food to aggressive animals immediately after the aggression reinforces that behavior.

    Don’t get me wrong, using a different/firm tone with animals is important in training. But all too many owners confuse a temporary reaction to yelling as the desired long term behavior they wish to see. This goes well beyond training tegus and is a major problem in dog owners. You have to look beyond the behaviors themselves into what is causing your little dude to feel the way he’s feeling :)
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2018
  7. beardeddragon111

    beardeddragon111 Active Member

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    I don't believe in yelling at them either really. I'm starting to think it may be a lack of enrichment. As soon as it warms up enough I have a large outdoor enclosure waiting for him, and I think that's going to help as well.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G920A using Tapatalk
    Gary likes this.
  8. Walter1

    Walter1 Moderator Staff Member 1,000+ Post Club

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    Maybe a difference between preventative actions and short-term response to bad behavior?
  9. beardeddragon111

    beardeddragon111 Active Member

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    I think both can work. But, I'm not sure how I could work with short term response right now. He's so fast it makes it hard to show him what he's being punished for. The quickest fix would be to simply move him outside, and I want him to stop behaving this way as fast as possible.

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  10. Walter1

    Walter1 Moderator Staff Member 1,000+ Post Club

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    You know how they love to wander about. Once settled outside I'd be very surprised if he doesn't loosen up and chill.
  11. AlphaAlpha

    AlphaAlpha Active Member

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    It's the time of year that in the wild tegu's would be competing for the best female, food and territorry ...... They will be tortured and confused by hormones which can lead to bad behavior and fighting for dominance and better food.....just stay firm and don't give in things will soon settle back down
  12. Skeep

    Skeep Active Member

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    Another thing to think about, that I don't think anyone mentioned yet, is don't hand feed (and generally feed in a predictable location and time). If you hand feed your tegu they will learn to associate your hands with food and lunge for them. Use long tongs; better they go for the tongs than your fingers!

    Also my tegu knows she only gets fed in the kitchen so she doesn't really go after anything anywhere else. Even if I try to give her a treat while watching TV she looks at me like I'm being weird XD If she's in her cage and she's very hungry, she will knock to get out, race to the door to the kitchen and head inside before she even starts looking for food. Just takes repetition and routine to get them to figure it out.
  13. beardeddragon111

    beardeddragon111 Active Member

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    I don't hand feed, I use a nice long pair of tongs. The thing is, he'd still at points shoot right past the tongs at my hands.

    He has since stopped being so food aggressive, but I'm still a lot more careful.

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  14. Skeep

    Skeep Active Member

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    Glad he's doing better!
  15. russo3j

    russo3j New Member

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    A while back I started to feed my Tegu every other day and slightly smaller portions because I thought he was getting a little overweight. I was going to do this until I thought he was at the right weight. I noticed that when I would set the food bowl in his enclosure he would become a little aggressive (eye me and the food bowl down). After about 2 weeks of feeding him less, my pops goes in to move some stuff around in his cage one morning (his feeding time) and the tegu dashed for his hand and got a nice grip on his finger. My pops lifted his hand up about 2 feet will the tegu still attached.

    After that and since then I feed every day and adjust his portions according to his weight.