FAQ: The Health of Tegus

What is the white stuff in my Tegus poop?
That is the urates (pee), just like a bird.

My Tegu has messy, smelly poop. Is that normal?
It can be, depending on diet. If you are concerned, get a fecal. (Take a fresh poop sample to the vet to check for parasites. This should be done twice a year anyway)

My Tegu has not pooped in days. Should I be concerned?
What goes in one end needs to come out the other. As Tegus get older they don’t poop as often. Adults may only poop several times a week. You can give him a warm bath to help him go. It will relax him. If you see him straining or twitching his back legs or problems walking, he may be impacted. If a warm bath does not work, go to a vet fast as impaction can kill your Tegu in a short time.

Tegu Lizard

I just got my Tegu and he is not eating very much. What could be wrong?
Many Tegus take a while to get acclimated before they start eating well. Give it a few more days. Cage size and basking temps can also effect eating.

My Tegu is not eating very much and is not very active. What could be wrong?
He could be getting ready to brumate. Make sure your basking temperature is at 105-115F.

My Tegu sleeps all the time, is he sick?
Some Tegus "brumate" sort of like hibernation, for up to 3 even 4 months at a time.

Is it normal for my Tegu to keep his mouth open?
If he does it all the time your temps may be too hot or it could be an Upper Respiratory Infection (URI). If he is gaping all the time, has a mucus around the mouth or nose or has difficulty breathing, get to a vet for a prescription of Baytril ASAP.

My Tegus tail came off, what do I do? Will it grow back?
It will grow back but it won’t look like it did before. This is why you don’t pick your Tegu up by the tail. If your Tegu is with other Tegus, separate him. You can use an antibiotic cream to reduce chances of infection. If there is a lot of blood or persistent bleeding, get to a vet ASAP. If the break is close to the body go to a vet. If it does not start healing in a few days go to a vet.

Do Tegus like water?
Most Tegus do like water and enjoy a misting or bath.

What could be causing my Tegu to throw up?
Tegus digest their food with the help of heat from a basking light. Poor digestion is normally associated with temperatures below 105-115F. It is also possible that the food items he is trying to eat are too large. To much food can cause vomiting too. Do not handle your Tegu after a meal. The stress can cause the animal to thrash around and throw up Anytime a Tegu throws up, it is a serious matter. They have bacteria in their stomach to help digest food. The loss of this "gut flora" makes it harder to digest food and so it needs to be replaced. A probiotic should always be given when a Tegu has digestive problems. Pedialyte is good to help rehydrate him and replace fluids. (More info on Probiotics and Pedialyte)

How do I trim my Tegus nails?
They can be trimmed with a nail clipper (not scissors) just like people use. Only cut off the tips. Have a blood clotting agent available in case you get a bleeder. Products like we use for razor cuts work for Tegus too and are available at most pet stores.

My Tegu is getting a faded look like a ghost. What’s wrong with him?
He is getting ready to shed. The moisture is building up under his top layer of old skin so it can peel off. Generally, Tegus don’t shed all at once however. Their skin may come of in patches. Soaking them in a warm bath can aid in this process by allowing additional moisture under the skin. Keep in mind however, you also need to make sure the cage is hot and dry enough to allow the skin to dry so it can flake and peel off. As it starts to dry, providing something for them to rub against is a help too.