Obesity is a very common problem with tegus, as they eat virtually everything that they are offered. Argentine tegus should weigh between 10-15 lbs (4.5-6.8 kg), and Colombian tegus should weigh 5-10 lbs (2.3-4.5 kg). The body should appear muscular and relatively streamlined. Heavier individuals with a disproportionate appearance should be evaluated for possible obesity.


  • Reduced activity/laziness
  • Tail has a creased/segmented appearance
  • Huge jowls
  • Heavy breathing


  • Feeding too often
  • Too much fat in the diet
  • Not enough vegetables (Argentine tegus only)
  • Small enclosure
  • Not enough exercise
  • Low temperatures


First, reevaluate your husbandry. Are you feeding your tegu too often? Are temps too low? Is too much free-roam time contributing to a lazy lifestyle? Correct as needed.

Reduce frequency of feedings and portion size. If you have an adult Argentine tegu, add more vegetables to its diet. Beware that your tegu may be crankier than usual as they adjust to the new schedule.

Encourage exercise with a larger enclosure, more free roam time (if this isn’t a contributing problem), and taking him/her outside in a fenced space. If you have a kiddie pool, you can also encourage the tegu to swim with close supervision.

Weigh your tegu weekly to measure progress. If you tegu hasn’t lost weight after a month, consult a certified exotic veterinarian. There may be a deeper problem to blame.

tegu obesity

Tupinambis merianae” by Dick Culbert is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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