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Are tegus good pets
Tegus can make fantastic pets due to their intelligence. Like all good things however, it takes work - time and a lot of effort.
Each tegu is an individual with their own distinct personality, likes, and dislikes - this is the most important thing to remember when thinking about purchasing or adopting a tegu as a pet. I’ve known people that have tegus that were baby dolls from day one, super tame, affectionate, everything someone could want in a scaley pet. A lot of CB Argentine B&Ws are that way, especially the All Americans or Extreme Giants. When getting a tegu for oneself, you may get that tegu and everything might go great.
You might not. So a prospective owner needs to be able to adequately evaluate their own tenacity and desire for owning a tegu. If you don’t get that “perfect tegu” how long and hard are you willing to work with that animal?
Guts is a pretty good example of the hard work and commitment type of tegu. When I first bought him he had a lot of behavior issues and behaved more like a wild tegu than a CBB animal (which he was). It took a full year of daily handling and training to get him to where he is today. 365 days of getting scratched, whipped, ect on top of his regular care - and I was working a full time job at the same time.
Guts still has what I call “tegu tantrums”. He’s a lot like a reptilian two year old - he wants to do what he wants to do when he wants to do it. If he doesn’t get his way he’s prone to throwing tantrums. Tantrums generally involve a combination of things he thinks will get him what he wants while also doing things that annoy the daylights out of me.
Guts is also extremely picky about his food. Most tegus are not but Guts is not most tegus and I know there are others out there like him. Guts will NOT eat turkey, beef, or chicken - which are the least expensive and most common type of ground meat people use when making their “tegu food mix”. I have to purchase bison or deer - sometimes I have to get it shipped in from out of state depending on the season. It’s expensive.
He’s like that with fruit too. He hates apples, but loves mangos.
I mentioned in the beginning that tegus are extremely intelligent, Guts can open the latch on his cage doors from the inside so they have to be locked at all times when he is inside his enclosure. He can also find his beds in the basement laundry room if they are waiting to be washed. They can be creative in finding ways to get in to trouble.
So, depending on the person, tegus can make great pets (probably the best of the larger lizards commonly kept) but they’re not for the faint of heart. If someone lacks the dedication then a tegu is probably not for them.
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