FAQ: Tegu Food and Feeding

What do they eat?
They are primarily carnivores. They start out eating Crickets, roaches, worms and other bugs. As they grow so does their appetite. They will be on rodents by the time they are a few months old. I also use a ground turkey mixture with supplements and eggs from the time they are a week old. It is also important for Red Tegus to regularly get fruit with vitamin C. A typical week’s diet might look like this:

  • Turkey mix
  • Assorted fruit
  • A proper sized rodent
  • More fruit
  • Eggs and fruit along with high protein pellet food
  • More fruit along with your choice of bugs
  • A proper sized rodent

How much do they eat?
It depends on their size and their diet. When they’re a few days old, they can eat a dozen crix a day. As they age, it can go upwards of 50 crix at a time. Since variety in diet is helpful in getting them to eat well, I offer many types of foods. Of course as they get bigger they eat more. Care must be taken that they do not overeat. Just watch their weight so they don’t eat too much.

Tegu Lizard

What about hand feeding them?
In a word NO. If you feel compelled to do so, remember that a strong feeding response is desirable and may not be conducive to hand feeding. Holding a rat by the tail might get you bit if your Tegus aim is not very good.

Do I have to feed rodents and bugs?
Young Tegus need protein to grow. If you are squeamish about live feeders, you might want to consider a different type of animal for a pet. You can use a turkey mixture to supplement other protein but I believe it is not sufficient by itself. As they get older they need less protein.Can crickets eat my Tegu?
Yes, leftover crix can do a lot of damage to a Tegu if left in overnight.

Can worms eat their way out of my Tegu?
No, it’s an urban legend.

Can I feed my Tegu bugs from my garden?
It is safer not to. You don’t know what they may have been exposed to. Pesticides, germs, parasites… can all have a deadly effect on your Tegu. Never feed luminous bugs (fireflies) as they are poisonous.

Does my Tegu need a water bowl?
Yes. They get moisture from their food if they are fed properly but they need more. They also love to bathe and soak when shedding High humidity is important. You can mist them occasionally, they usually love it.

How do I get my Tegu to eat fruit?
Red Tegus will naturally eat more fruit and less animal protein as they reach maturity. They are attracted by movement so dropping them into the bowl may help. Another method is to chop the fruit into small pieces in a bowl and put worms or other bugs in with it.What are supplements? Do I need to use them?
Supplements are vitamins and minerals, especially calcium and D3. YES you must use them for a healthy Tegu. You add them to the food items. You can dust bugs or add it to the turkey and fruits. I feed Rep-cal juvie dragon pellets occasionally as well as food items dusted with T-Rex products. If these products are used, additional supplementation may do more harm than good.