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The start of Taming

Mandi&Mushu

New Member
Messages
6
So I just got my juvenile blue tegu about 4 days ago. He has been super skittish and I've gotten him out a total of 2 times from his enclosure. The second time, he decided to potty in my hands so I put him in the bath (which was pretty positive experience wise). Both times were negative experiences in the sense that I had to "dig" him out. He is very skittish and does not come out from hiding often. He has finally started to understand that if he wants food, he has to come out to get it and I feed him with tongs through the opening of the cage. I don't feed him if he stays in his hide (trying to show him I'm safe and good.) Just would like to know what else I can do. I've read taming tabs but I can't even get to him to put him in the tub or hold him. Should I just be more patient and continue to show more non-threatening gestures such as leaving my hand in his enclosure? TIA
 

LizardStudent

Active Member
Messages
118
Location
Nashville, TN
Opinions are going to vary on this topic. Personally, I think having your teg for 4 days and trying to take it out of the enclosure is moving too fast; these animals live for maybe 20 years, you have so much time to build a relationship with them, there is no need to rush things. I would give your tegu a week or two to get used to their new living space and be comfortable in their tank (some people may give them a month), then I would try setting your hand in the enclosure to get them used to your presence/ smell. I think it helps if you don't stand over them while doing this, but try to be face level so they feel led threatened. I personally waited until my tegu was comfortable with my hand in the tank, enough that she would walk on it or begin climbing up my arm, until I tried to pick her up or take her out. After that milestone, I tried more active taming, like taking her out every other day and getting her more used to me picking her up and holding her. It is a slow process and patience is key in gaining their trust :)
 

Member1421

Member
Messages
51
There is a channel on YouTube called Rose City Reptiles. He hasn't been very active lately, but also has a busy family life and the holidays to take into account. I got my tegu from him, Joey, who recommends handling your tegu immediately. I did this myself and have the start of what I feel is a pretty calm 4-month-old. Have him out as much as possible, build trust, reinforce positive experiences, and let them roam in a safe environment without you paying much attention to them if at all possible. It takes time; these lizards have no reason to trust us. Just the past two days my dude finally walked out onto my leg from his enclosure and it is the first time these last two days he has let me pick him up to take him to his bathroom bin without being on the large cork flat I usually remove him from. My advice again is patience, trust, repetitiveness and reinforcement. I feed in and out of the enclosure, but do remove him in the A.M. to go to the bathroom outside.

I started feeding 'Ted' with tongs early on and he used to absolutely lose his mind when he saw him and jump out of the enclosure like they were some demonic thing. To stop that quickly I just put a couple pair of tongs on his basking spot so he was with them all day and learned they weren't a bad thing. Now he eats from them after he finishes his main foods for the day, sort of like I only give him whole fish pieces or 'treats' with them after he eats all his vegetables. Tegus are smart, and working with them is almost like an active psychology experiment. Good luck.
 

Mandi&Mushu

New Member
Messages
6
I will look it up wanik4, thank you! And LizardStudent, thank you as well. I will back off a little and see how he does. Maybe I'm over thinking it and pushing too much. I'm going to invest in a larger cage for him as well. When I ordered him, the posting said hatchling but he in fact is huge! He has lost any "hatchling" attributes. I really wanted a baby so I could work with him from the start but I rushed into the buying process after researching and prepping for almost a month :( I'm happy with him and I know it will probably be a longer process than originally planned but I'm excited for the day he finally drops his guard.
 

Debita

Well-Known Member
1,000+ Post Club
Messages
1,221
Location
Prescott, AZ
Tegus vary A LOT from one to another. My male took 10 months to calm....my female was a breeze from the moment I got her. Lucky for me, cause I was pretty exhausted by the males' antics. I like the patience path, and letting them lead when you first get them. It they want out - by all means - it's a good day. If they're hiding, and trying to "settle" in to their new digs, let them come to you when they're ready. Let you Tegu tell you what it's ready for. Don't forget to put an old worn shirt in the enclosure (it will be trashed) to familiarize he/she with your scent.

I try to mention my adult male (almost 3 now) because he really is the extreme as far as I've heard. He hated me for so long, I thought he would never ever accept his situation. Today, and for a full year now he's been a buddy that brightens up when I come in (practically ignoring my husband). I can be heavy handed with him and do what I need to do, and he shows zero aggression. -But, there's no question that he was difficult, strong minded and persistent in his anxiety for quite awhile. So - moral of the story is, don't give up on them. If they are giving you a bad time, just hold on through it and stay with it.
 

Mandi&Mushu

New Member
Messages
6
Tegus vary A LOT from one to another. My male took 10 months to calm....my female was a breeze from the moment I got her. Lucky for me, cause I was pretty exhausted by the males' antics. I like the patience path, and letting them lead when you first get them. It they want out - by all means - it's a good day. If they're hiding, and trying to "settle" in to their new digs, let them come to you when they're ready. Let you Tegu tell you what it's ready for. Don't forget to put an old worn shirt in the enclosure (it will be trashed) to familiarize he/she with your scent.

I try to mention my adult male (almost 3 now) because he really is the extreme as far as I've heard. He hated me for so long, I thought he would never ever accept his situation. Today, and for a full year now he's been a buddy that brightens up when I come in (practically ignoring my husband). I can be heavy handed with him and do what I need to do, and he shows zero aggression. -But, there's no question that he was difficult, strong minded and persistent in his anxiety for quite awhile. So - moral of the story is, don't give up on them. If they are giving you a bad time, just hold on through it and stay with it.
This sounds very similar. He is stubborn and varies day to day. I'm starting to pick up on his tastes. He will come fully out of hiding and almost fall out his door when I have anything other than turkey haha! But he still gets skittish and will eventually run and hide. At that point I will have to continue feeding him inside his hide. I also noticed a weird "attack" to my tongs one day. He hasn't done it since but he was apparently not happy with them. He's starting to lay on his basking rock and not get startled as much and I was able to get him to crawl next to my hand and sniff my arm. Progress!
 

Debita

Well-Known Member
1,000+ Post Club
Messages
1,221
Location
Prescott, AZ
Lol...progress is good with a ruffian! One of my Skully's worst days with me was when he was so pissed off at me for daring to intrude, he flew at me to bite, but smacked his head on the front glass, barely missing me. Somewhere on this forum, (about 3 yrs ago) I described it as a snow globe of substrate. I think it shocked him as much as me. He never did it again, so maybe after attacking the tongs....without much to show for it.... yours will tire of the aggression too. It's a process! :rolleyes: :p:tegu:
 

Jorgo

Member
Messages
30
Agree with the many folks here! Digging them out is definitely not the best idea, and a slower more patient approach will likely do you good!

Also since age of the tegu is unsure, beware of Guberty, which occures (around 8 to 10 months of age typically)! Even if you get him super calm, they may be a period of time where they seem to just revert back/just start hating on you. Exact behavior varies tegu to tegu.
 

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