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Old 21-02-2017, 09:15 AM
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Question A step down from an Argentine B&W Tegu?

Hey guys,

My girlfriend and I have been discussing the future of our hobby. We plan to have no more than 7 reptiles, so we're choosing our options very carefully. So far, we want a corn snake, a ball python, leopard gecko, and crested gecko. We are getting a corn snake very soon, and I've kept cresties in the past. We would like a boa of some type down the road as well. We'd love to add a big lizard to the mix. Sure enough, the [Argentine] Tegu stole our hearts.

Now I've wanted tegus for awhile, and since I know it won't be until a few years till I could actually get one, I wanted to start researching now. After resuming such research with my girlfriend, we looked at adult care and watched a video about 7 things this individual hated about owning tegus. We want more things like that---What are some things that are noticeable cons about owning these fascinating lizards? How much work are they really? It's one thing to watch cute puppy-like lizards on youtube, its another to actually take care of them in every day life, and we went to prevent the "youtube effect" as we call it, where we see something we'd love but there are some hidden realities we need to know about before making the plunge.

What would be a step down from a tegu? We have a blue tongue skink as another contender, however I am wondering if there are others to consider. I feel, personally, that a tegu might be a bit much between finding a large enough space for their cage, expense of feeding, and the fear of how bad getting bit by an adult would be. I know with proper care and handling, bites are rare. However, I respect and understand that these are non-domesticated animals and can bite for numerous of reasons. So I always consider the risk of getting bitten, and how bad the bite would be in that off-chance. This is factored in for any reptile we decide to get.

TL;DR I guess what I'm looking for is a "What did you wish you knew before you got a Tegu" type question, as it can give us insight about things that aren't commonly talked about when people ask about the care of tegus. I'm also curious about which other lizards we should consider, something a 'step down' from a tegu that's easier and more manageable to care for.

Thanks!
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Old 21-02-2017, 09:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zentori View Post
Hey guys,

My girlfriend and I have been discussing the future of our hobby. We plan to have no more than 7 reptiles, so we're choosing our options very carefully. So far, we want a corn snake, a ball python, leopard gecko, and crested gecko. We are getting a corn snake very soon, and I've kept cresties in the past. We would like a boa of some type down the road as well. We'd love to add a big lizard to the mix. Sure enough, the [Argentine] Tegu stole our hearts.

Now I've wanted tegus for awhile, and since I know it won't be until a few years till I could actually get one, I wanted to start researching now. After resuming such research with my girlfriend, we looked at adult care and watched a video about 7 things this individual hated about owning tegus. We want more things like that---What are some things that are noticeable cons about owning these fascinating lizards? How much work are they really? It's one thing to watch cute puppy-like lizards on youtube, its another to actually take care of them in every day life, and we went to prevent the "youtube effect" as we call it, where we see something we'd love but there are some hidden realities we need to know about before making the plunge.

What would be a step down from a tegu? We have a blue tongue skink as another contender, however I am wondering if there are others to consider. I feel, personally, that a tegu might be a bit much between finding a large enough space for their cage, expense of feeding, and the fear of how bad getting bit by an adult would be. I know with proper care and handling, bites are rare. However, I respect and understand that these are non-domesticated animals and can bite for numerous of reasons. So I always consider the risk of getting bitten, and how bad the bite would be in that off-chance. This is factored in for any reptile we decide to get.

TL;DR I guess what I'm looking for is a "What did you wish you knew before you got a Tegu" type question, as it can give us insight about things that aren't commonly talked about when people ask about the care of tegus. I'm also curious about which other lizards we should consider, something a 'step down' from a tegu that's easier and more manageable to care for.

Thanks!
A step down from tegus but related to them & very similar, would be Jamaican Jungle runners, AKA green Ameivas (Ameiva ameiva) if you can get them. They grow to a couple of feet, are multicoloured in green, brown & blue, are sexually dichromatic & will live in pairs/groups (only one male though), & easy to keep. The downside is that they're not too easy to get.
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Old 21-02-2017, 12:46 PM
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I'd also like to add that most Jungle runners do best in very large enclosures, tend to be somewhat skittish and CB are often a pain to get. Tegu's are often laid back while Jungle runners are much more active. Very interesting lizards and an good suggestion.

Like you mentioned, not a species very similar in appearance, but also laid back and able to consume loads of different food items, Blue tongue skinks. Personable and calm animals that can interact with their keepers in interesting ways.

Depending on your location and your climate, keeping (certain species of) Tegu's outdoor for a portion of the year might be a good option for you. This will give them a good deal of more space and the opportunity to express more natural behaviour. Some species of European lizards might provide a good learning experience for this way of keeping. Lacerta viridus/bilineata and Timon lepidus for example. As an added bonus, it would also give you a chance to 'practice' hibernating animals, since some keepers experience this a bit stressful the first few times.

I can't comment on the experience of being bitten by a Tegu, but I've been bitten by a blue tongue skink on a few occasions. Mostly because my fingers where confused with food. The pressure a medium lizard can deliver is immense and was quite painful. A Tegu's bite is incredible strong, comparable with the strength of crocodilians: Tegu lizard vs Crocodilian bite force?
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Old 21-02-2017, 01:10 PM
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Originally Posted by wilkinss77 View Post
A step down from tegus but related to them & very similar, would be Jamaican Jungle runners, AKA green Ameivas (Ameiva ameiva) if you can get them. They grow to a couple of feet, are multicoloured in green, brown & blue, are sexually dichromatic & will live in pairs/groups (only one male though), & easy to keep. The downside is that they're not too easy to get.
Thanks for the suggestion! I'll definitely look into them. They look really interesting to keep. I just wish there were more care-centric videos of them on Youtube.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Creed View Post
I'd also like to add that most Jungle runners do best in very large enclosures, tend to be somewhat skittish and CB are often a pain to get. Tegu's are often laid back while Jungle runners are much more active. Very interesting lizards and an good suggestion.

Like you mentioned, not a species very similar in appearance, but also laid back and able to consume loads of different food items, Blue tongue skinks. Personable and calm animals that can interact with their keepers in interesting ways.

Depending on your location and your climate, keeping (certain species of) Tegu's outdoor for a portion of the year might be a good option for you. This will give them a good deal of more space and the opportunity to express more natural behaviour. Some species of European lizards might provide a good learning experience for this way of keeping. Lacerta viridus/bilineata and Timon lepidus for example. As an added bonus, it would also give you a chance to 'practice' hibernating animals, since some keepers experience this a bit stressful the first few times.

I can't comment on the experience of being bitten by a Tegu, but I've been bitten by a blue tongue skink on a few occasions. Mostly because my fingers where confused with food. The pressure a medium lizard can deliver is immense and was quite painful. A Tegu's bite is incredible strong, comparable with the strength of crocodilians: Tegu lizard vs Crocodilian bite force?
That tegu bite is ridiculous! Not going to lie, that really does stray me away. I feel I can handle a bluey's bite, and snake bites don't bother me in the slightest. Sharp pain caused by teeth isn't what bothers me, its the pressure and the ability to really damage/possibility of amputation of my finger (I have a phobia of medical trauma such as amputations).

I feel for my area it wouldn't be very viable. Humidity is incredibly low, and temperature change is erratic. One day it'll be record high temperature, next day it's snowing (and that has happened just recently). Brumation is definitely another worry as well.

I suppose I really love the IDEA of having a tegu, but not the means. Blueys are strong contenders, although I do wish they were just slightly bigger. I'll check into those two others you recommended, thanks!
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Old 21-02-2017, 01:39 PM
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I can't help much here as I don't do Tegus anymore but I'm getting back into them with a Gold in 3 weeks or less! But just be ready for a large food bill if you endup going with any of the Tegus.
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