Not quite sure what tegu supplies you will need to care for your new pet? We’ve got you covered. In other words, we did the shopping for you. ?
Keep in mind that everything should be purchased and set up BEFORE you get the tegu. This will save you a lot of stress, and does your new pet a big favor, too.
Click the link for each item to see where they can be purchased online. This list contains affiliate links.
- Kages 8’x4’x4′ PVC enclosure*
- Arcadia Dragon 12% T5 HO UVB, 46″
- T5 HO 6500K fluorescent bulb, 46″
- T5 HO dual lamp fixture with reflector, 48″
- Arcadia Jungle Dawn LED Bar, 34″
- Arcadia PRO Ceiling Mount Ceramic Socket, (x4)
- Philips PAR38 175w Halogen Heat Bulb, (x4)
- 4-6 sq ft of flagstone for basking**
- GE 7-Day Programmable Power Strip with Digital Timer
- Etekcity 774 temp gun
- Zoo Med Combometer digital thermometer/hygrometer (x2)
- 6″ of substrate
- 7 cubic feet of organic topsoil (7 bags)**
- 3 cubic feet of play sand (3 bags)**
- 3 cubic feet of peat moss (1 bag)**
- 4 lbs of dried sphagnum moss (2 bales)
- 40 gallon opaque storage bin (for use as a hide)**
- Terrarium décor/enrichment
- large branches
- tree stumps
- large, nontoxic live plants (see The Tortoise Table)
- Large ceramic dog food bowl
- Miner-ALL Outdoor calcium supplement
- Repashy Supervite multivitamin supplement
- Rubber-tipped tweezers for feeding, 12″
- 41qt under-bed plastic storage box (for water)**
Approximate cost before buying the tegu or food: $2,600 USD
*You can save money by building the enclosure yourself! See here for details.
**We highly recommend buying these supplies at your local landscaping supply or home goods store — this will save you A LOT of money on shipping.
How to Choose a Healthy Tegu
Most Argentine tegus in the US are CBB (captive bred and born), but many Colombian tegus are still WC (wild-caught). CBB tegus are easier to tame and more likely to be healthy. WC tegus are difficult to tame and more likely to be loaded with parasites and other forms of disease.
If you are buying a tegu in-person, you are most likely at a pet store or reptile expo. You have the luxury of examining the animal up-close and personal, so use this opportunity to give it a thorough check-over:
- Are the eyes clear and free of discharge?
- Do the lips close completely, with no areas where the lips part even though the jaw is closed?
- Is the tegu able to breathe with its mouth closed, or is the mouth gaping open?
- Is the skin unblemished and limbs whole, or are there scars/open wounds?
- Is the skin smooth, or wrinkled (sign of dehydration)?
- Is the body firm and plump, or can you see/feel bones in the tail and legs?
- Is the tegu energetic and active, with head up? Or is is lethargic, with its head down and eyes closed?
- Is the tegu curious about you, with tongue flicking, or does it try to run away?
- If you can, look at the belly. Are there burn scars or poo stains?
- If you can, run your hand over the tegu’s body. Are there any unusual lumps/bumps/swellings?
- If you can, watch it eat. Does it eat with enthusiasm?
If you’re at a pet store, look at the enclosure:
- Is the substrate clean, free of shed skin, spoiled food, dirty water, or excess poo?
- Is there both a heat source and UVB?
- Is the glass clean? Generally a clean enclosure means that the animal inside is well cared for.
If you’re buying from a small independent pet shop, ask where they sourced their tegu and if they can give you the name of the breeder. If they don’t know, ask if you can get that information from the manager. If they are still unwilling to disclose that information, it’s a good idea to walk away.
Buying from a Breeder
Whenever possible, buy from a breeder who specializes in tegus, not a big-box reptile distributor (Underground Reptiles, Backwater Reptiles, BHB Reptiles, etc.). The narrower the focus, the more likely you will receive a healthy animal. Personally I recommend buying tegus exclusively from breeders, as you’re more likely to know what you’re getting. Of course, buying from a breeder often necessitates buying online, which means extra fees for overnight shipping.
If you have multiple good options, go with your gut and pick the one you personally like best.
Should you buy a hatchling or adult?
If this is your first tegu, buy a hatchling. Hatchlings are smaller and easier to handle, and if you make a mistake, a bite from a hatchling is no big deal. Hatchlings are also easier to tame down, often growing into “puppy-dog tame” adults. Adopting an adult tegu, particularly an untamed tegu, is best left to experts with plenty of prior tegu experience.
Argentine/Colombian Tegu Care:
- Introduction to Tegus
- Shopping List
- List of Tegu Species
- Terrarium Sizing for Hatchlings, Juveniles & Adults
- Temperature & Humidity Requirements
- Substrate Options
- Decorating Your Tegu’s Enclosure
- Feeding Your Tegu
- Handling Tips
- Benefits of Free-Roaming
- Common Problems & Questions About Tegu Health
- Additional Resources