FAQ: Housing Tegus

Can I house more than one Tegu in a cage?
Never put 2 mature males together. Even mature females can fight. My experience is if you want to keep Tegus together they need to be put together at an early age before they get territorial. Always, always, always quarantine new animals for a minimum of 30 days. (I recommend 90 days)

How big a cage do I need?
Adult Red Tegus should have at least 24 sq. ft. of floor space. 6′ X 4′ is good; 8′ X 4′ is great.

Can I use a hot rock for heat?
NO! Do not ever use a hot rock. Tegus should get heat from above with a basking lamp. The hottest spot should be 105F-115F so they can properly digest their food.

Should I use a heat light at night?
NO! Tegus can see the light and black lights are bad for their eyes. The cage should be dark to allow them to rest and cycle properly. Night time heat is not needed unless temps drop below 65F inside the cage. If that is the case you can use a ceramic heater for heat from the top or a UTH (under tank heater) if it is feasible. Generally, if you have a sand bottom, the UTH will not penetrate because the sand will insulate it.

What should I use on the bottom of the cage?
I use cypress mulch or cypress blend. Tegus are smart enough that if they get a mouthful while eating they will spit out the mulch. It should be moist (cage humidity 50%). You can mist the cage lightly on a daily basis to keep the humidity up. Sphagnum moss can be used in the hide for even more humidity.

What about a hide?
Tegus love a tight fit, it helps them feel secure. You can provide a hide by simply placing a wooden board on the ground. They will dig a burrow under the wood and settle in. If you want something above ground, a small hide box that they can curl up in is fine.

Can I use tree branches from my yard in the cage?
Use dried out wood. Soak in a 10% bleach solution for several hours then let dry until there is no smell. Fumes are toxic, be careful. You can also bake it for several hours at 200F

What is a UV light? Do I have to use one?
UV is ultraviolet light. The sun provides UVA and UVB that your Tegu uses to manufacture vitamin D3. This is needed to absorb and use the calcium ingested to stay healthy.This is a hotly debated topic. I believe it is better to err on the side of caution and use a good UV light. It is my experience that Proper UV lighting can help some Tegus maintain better color, have a better appetite, grow and thrive. This is not true in all cases and there are breeders who raise their Tegus with no UV light, just supplements and have no reported problems. There is a smaller margin for error however when you rely strictly on supplements.There are many UV lights to choose from. There are also many BAD UV lights that do little or nothing in the way of UV. For florescent UV lights I believe the standard is the Reptisun 5.0.