Red Tegu

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Species group:

Other common names: Argentine Red Tegu; Lagarto Colorado; Roter Teju

Scientific name: Tupinambis Rufescens

The basics:
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

Red Tegu Health Tip

Red Tegu

From amyaimprincess Jan 29 2013 3:25AM


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