Species group: Tegus
Other common names: Argentine Red Tegu; Lagarto Colorado; Roter Teju
Scientific name: Tupinambis Rufescens
The Red Tegu is native to two distinct geographical areas in South America - one in northern Argentina; the other in eastern Bolivia, western Paraguay, and central western Argentina. The Red Tegu inhabits arid semi-deserts and grasslands to light woods. Tegus fill the same ecological niche as Monitor lizards, and are an example of convergent evolution.
Appearance / health:
The heaviest of the Tegus, the Red Tegu matures to weighing 20 pounds and reaches about 4 ft. in length (including the tail). Red Tegus are born a dull reddish-brown color that increases as the Tegu matures. Males are longer and more muscular than females.
Behavior / temperament:
Red Tegus are popular because they are typically calm and comfortable with handling. Captive born and raised Tegus seem quicker to learn to trust their owners. Intelligent and docile as adults, pet Red Tegus are best liked for being a friendly reptile.
As a tropical species, Red Tegus need warm temperatures during most of the year. They prefer a habitat which has an ambient temperature of 85-90F during the day, with a daytime basking area of 95-120F. Temperatures 5-10 degrees cooler are acceptable at night.
Red Tegus are large and active, and should be given as much space as possible. Adults do best with a 4 x 8 foot (1.2 x 2.4 meter) enclosure. Bark or mulch-type bedding is recommended, and this substrate should be deep to allow them to burrow. Their enclosure should also include a large hide to simulate a burrow.
Fresh water should always be available. The enclosure should be cleaned and disinfected regularly. Feeding should be done with tongs or on a feeding dish because hand feeding could lead to accidents. Red Tegus live for 15-20 years in captivity.
Tegus are omnivores, and should be fed appropriately sized insects (crickets, meal worms, wax worms, silk worms, butter worms); protein such as chicken, fish, eggs, occasional rats or mice; fruits (bananas, strawberries, cantaloupe, apples); and dark leafy greens. Calcium and vitamin supplementation is especially important for young Tegus.
Red Tegus need to be allowed to hibernate if they are to breed. Breeding typically takes place about two weeks after they are brought out of hibernation. Females lay 20 eggs that hatch after 3 months.
aggressive eaters, reptile enthusiast, intelligent large lizard, extremely rewarding pets
monster teeth, Tail whipping, fingers, higher maintenance reptile, hefty vet bills
Provide hiding places, large cages, leashes
From Kacie Bingham Sep 24 2017 11:04PM
I did a review on the Argentine Black and White Tegu and now I am doing one on the Red Tegus. I own both and actually have been successful at keeping them both together. When I acquired the red tegu it was the same length and size as my black and white so they posed no threats to each other. They are fairly similar to each other.
The red tegu tends to be a lot easier to handle though. They are not aggressive by nature and are the most docile out of all tegus. Their color is absolutely beautiful and attracts a lot of attention.
These lizards grow up to 4 feet long and can weigh over 20 pounds. Mine is right there at 3.5 foot and over 15 pounds!
Red tegus need large cages so if you do not have the room for a minimum of an 8 foot length cage then you should probably not own this lizard.
Tegus tend to be very smart and very strong. Red tegus like to hibernate and their ideal substrate is Cypress mulch which they will stay underneath most of the time. They only come out occassionally.
*****NEVER GIVE A TEGU CEDAR MULCH, CEDAR BEDDING, OR PINE BEDDING***** This is important because it will kill them.
Red tegus are carnivorous and eat mice, ground turkey, chicken, hot dogs, eggs, etc. Never feed red tegus in their cage because they can become aggressive eaters and bite your finger mistaking it as food.
This is a rewarding lizard and will grow to be big. They like to bask in the sun and do require heat for proper growth (also UV). I enjoy raising my tegu and it is a blast.
This lizard is recommended by me to only experts because of the care they do require. They tend to carry hefty vet bills if you need to go often, their food adds up in price, and the maintenance. The possibility, while rare, of being bit by a lizard this size could really hurt a child. An adult could own this lizard but they need research to really understand them and how to properly raise them.
If you ever get a chance to see these lizards in person you will fall in love, they are truly beautiful. (They are not popular to find though and can be hard to acquire).
From amyaimprincess Jan 29 2013 3:25AM