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Argentinian B&W Tegus in my FL Neighborhood

Discussion in 'Field Herping' started by JustJames76, May 20, 2007.

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  1. JustJames76

    JustJames76 Elite Member

    Yesterday was a BUSY BUSY herp day. I got two phone calls from different people with "deadly looking" snakes in their yards (also known as corn snakes). So off I was to keep them from getting chopped up.

    Then it gets exciting. A friend of mine calls to tell me his neighbor has an "alligator" inside his house, he's terrified, and he's about to kill it. So off I go. What I see isn't an alligator but an Argentinian Black and White Tegu. I got my hands on one of them, apparently there are two more running around the guy's house somewhere. I'm going to try and catch them too. The guy says one of their backs is as high as a step... must be one chunky lizard.

    Looks like some exotics that got released and started breeding in the wild... LOVELY! :mad: I saw a sign a few months back that the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission was putting up around the area about reporting these tegus if you saw them in the wild. They seem to be having a negative impact on native species. The one I got is in a huge barrel right now. I have some extra 6 foot sheets of glass and am constructing an enclosure today. I'll post pics when done.

    On a side note, does anyone have a great care sheet for these beautiful animals? For UVB, I've got two 4 foot "Repti Glo 5.0" bulbs. I've seen some care sheets online, but none of them gave very definitive information. For food, all I've gotten is "eats mice and some fruits and vegetables". No information on how much or what kind of feeding schedule. Any additional information would be greatly appreciated. Hope you guys like the pics, better ones to follow. I've been busy trying to get this guy's home together.

    Argentinian B&W Tegu I captured

    B&W Tegu Head shot

    On a side note, it looks like I need to find a good area to infest with released corn snakes that were going to get their heads chopped off. Anyways, that's it. Look forward to replies and any info.
  2. steel rip

    steel rip Elite Member

    Awww he looks so scared, try to feed on a regular scedule they like routine, try him with ground turkey with vitamin D3 & calcium supplements.... f/t rodents or freshly killed.

    Good luck with him..whats his temperment like? he looks scared in the picture, hopefully he will settle good for you...keep us update, hes a handsome lil fella :D
  3. JustJames76

    JustJames76 Elite Member

    Yeah, the poor thing is very scared. He's also snappy. I put on some leather gloves to pick him up and he caught my finger through the gloves.... ripped a hole in the glove and took a little patch of skin with it. One funny thing though... as soon as he knows you have him. He goes completely limp and plays dead. I mean, he flops around like wet noodle... but it's all an act. You lay him down and he'll lay there like a carcass.. you can even roll him over and rub his belly (but if you watch carefully, you can see him keeping his eyes on you).

    In good news, he ate a bit today. He had a can of cat food. I know that's not good for a regular diet, but it was high quality cat food and good for him to eat something. He hasn't touched the vegetables, although I think he ate some of the orange I put in there with him yesterday.

    For F/T mice, how often should he get one? And how much turkey/how often? I'll weigh him later if I can get him to calm down (play dead) and let you know how big he is.
  4. steel rip

    steel rip Elite Member

    They can eat lots of live foods the usual insects for lizards, crickets ect...fruit and veggies also, I would say feed 4 to 5 times a week, every day for babies...varied diet is good, cat food is very high in fat and not good for them, also hard boiled eggs can be a nice treat now and then...he will soon gain your trust, just try to socialize with him a lot.
  5. JustJames76

    JustJames76 Elite Member

    The enclosure is finished.. WHEW. I'm a little sunburned but it was worth it. I only had half a bag of Spahgnum moss left so I've got to pick up some more tomorrow. He let me pick him up and stayed calm while I gave him a rubdown. However, when he got tired of being held he went to wiggling. Thanks so much for the feeding advice. As promised earlier, here are some pics of the enclosure as it was built.

    Enclosures start like this

    Wife supporting halfway framed enclosure

    All screwed together outside

    Took it apart and reassembled it in the living room

    Me holding him as he's about to enter his new home

    Tegu checking out his new enclosure while wishing he had more moss

    I need to make him a hidey hole for each side and something to secure a basking light on. More substrate has to wait till tomorrow since it's late on a Sunday. I want to find a background with a jungle motif to put in the back. Also thinking about hanging a real short curtain across the top to hide the wood.
  6. JustJames76

    JustJames76 Elite Member

    Invasive species

    I just found this online about Florida invasive species. The Balm-Boyette Road mentioned in about 3 miles from my house. I dont understand why people insist on releasing exotics into the wild. If they get to a point where you cant handle them, contact animal control or the SPCA. I think my new friend is awesome, but he has no place in the wild here. They're terrible for destroying native species.

  7. JustJames76

    JustJames76 Elite Member

    Worried about a leeeeeezard

    The same friend that told me about this tegu in the guy's house told me they caught another big lizard there two days ago. He said it's the same as the one I got (Argentine black and white tegu) except that it's green and yellow. He said it wasn't an iguana, I'm thinking some kind of monitor. Then he told me another guy he knows saw it and thought it was neat and asked for it.

    Now I've been worried about this lizard for 2 days now. If it's the guy I'm thinking about, I doubt he has any idea of how much care these animals require. I want to ask to see this herp to make sure he's being taken care of, but I'm not sure how I should go about it. I only met the guy that got it once and he was not the kind to inspire confidence. I tried to hint to my friend that I was really curious to see the herp, but my hints went unnoticed. :( I'm thinking I might have to be rude (blunt sound better?) and come right out and say I'm worried about how capable the guy is to keep him. Maybe I can just tell him I want a pic of it for my photo album and go from there if it needs help.

    In other news, Buddy, the tegu, is doing great. He loves semi boiled eggs and will eat almost anything if you get egg yolk on it. Veggies he refuses without exception, but he has a growing appetite for fruits. Bananas, oranges and cantaloupes currently top his list, although he will take an occasional blackberry. I can't wait to see how he does with watermelon and strawberry. I was supposed to go this weekend and see if I could catch that 5 1/2 footer that's staying in the guy's yard. Unfortunately, I stepped on a nail today at work and dont think I'm up to chasing huge herps right now. Anyways, I'll give updates as they come along. Any suggestions for dealing with my dilemna?
  8. ajvw

    ajvw Subscribed User

    Tetanus shot?

    Oh, you mean the dilemma about the guy with the big lizard.

    Why not say that you'd like to ID it and get a photo for your album, and then once you see it, offer to help the guy get caresheets? You could let him know that if it gets to be too much for him, you are available to take it. If he is informed about all the care it needs, he might rather not have it anyway. Is the guy a grownup with his own house? Maybe you could scare his wife or mother or girlfriend (or whoever he lives with) into insisting that the big lizard must go, lol! Telling them it will need a whole room full of dirt, need to be fed live goats, or whatever, might do the trick... (ok, maybe that's not strictly all true, but...)
  9. nicole

    nicole Elite Member

    Live goats:D :D I love it! Geesh that would scare me enough to give up mine, lol
  10. JustJames76

    JustJames76 Elite Member

    Tetanus shot.. LOLOL. I got one not too long ago so I'm still up to date there. As a carpenter, I get nails in the feet all the time... this one is a bugger though. Half my foot is swollen and walking is an almost comical exercise. Thank God I have a 3 day weekend to heal before work next week.

    I'm hoping this guy is a reptile lover and regardless of the care, he'll be willing to give it a great home. I just dont think it's too probable. He is a grown up with his own place. I'm not sure if he's married or not. I'm going to try to limp my way over there with the cam today and see what's up.
  11. Jem_Scout

    Jem_Scout Elite Member

    And??????? I'm way curious now!
  12. JustJames76

    JustJames76 Elite Member

    Apparently the guy that I thought got it isn't the right one. The one that did get it was out of town on vacation till Monday. I wonder who was caring for his new friend. I called my friend and asked if we could go over there and get some pics. He tld me the guy lives in Ruskin, which is a little drive away so he didn't want to go. So I came clean and told him I was worried about whether the guy could take care of him. He said he'd try to get me some pics of the guy's setup and let him know that if it was too much for him, to get in touch with me. I still dont even know what species it is. :(
  13. JustJames76

    JustJames76 Elite Member

    I just got a fresh update on the other lizard. My friend just called me at about 9 tonght and told me that the other guy was getting rid of the lizard and I could get it if I wanted it. Apparently his son went to feed the thing by hand and lost some of his finger. The guy said he would keep it until this weekend and then bring it to my friend if I wanted it, if not he was releasing it back into the wild (DUH!!!). He did say he was bringing the cage and everything with it. Hopefully it'll be large enough for the guy to stay in and i wont have to make a new enclosure. I'll let you guys know more when I hear more.
  14. JustJames76

    JustJames76 Elite Member

    I dont know if anyone's still following this story. If so, here's the latest. The guy is supposed to bring it to my friend's house tomorrow. Still no idea what it is, from the green and yellow coloration and the fact that it's breeding wild in Florida, I'm guessing a Nile Monitor (not what I would pick to keep if I had multiple options to choose from). I guess I'll find out tomorrow. My friend also said the guy had an adult iguana he is getting rid of. I dont know if he's planning on bringing that to drop off as well or not. Kid must have lost a nice piece of finger for this guy to get rid of every animal in his house. Unless something changes, pictures should be available tomorrow. Anyone else want to guess as to the species before it shows up? All I have to go by is a lizard between 2 and 3 feet long with a green and yellow coloration.
  15. BlackJack

    BlackJack Subscribed User Premium Member

    Maybe it's one of those pretty rare iguanas that Devon posted a while back!!! :D
    Good luck with the lizards. Post pics... I'm following the story! :)
  16. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    Nice job on the first rescue and good luck with the next. If it's a Nile it must be really healthy to keep it's green and yellow colours. They usually fade out after a year or so.
  17. JustJames76

    JustJames76 Elite Member

    I hate idiots who think stopsigns are optional

    Sorry to leave people in suspense, bu life took a turn on me. Last weekend a truck ran a stopsign and totaled my car. Threw my neck and back for a loop while it was at it. Right now life consists of muscle relaxers and physical therapy.. so my friend didn't even bother getting his hands on the lizard as I cant take care of it right now. Still no more info on what it is. Will update when I get one.
  18. venus

    venus Founding Member

    Glad to hear your alive and well. Keep us posted on everything :)
  19. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    Glad to hear you didn't get hurt seriously. Get well soon.
  20. BlackJack

    BlackJack Subscribed User Premium Member

    Sorry to hear about your accident.
    Take care of yourself!
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