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Columbian Tegu: Diet Question And Shed Question

Discussion in 'Tegu' started by TheTwiggsMGW, Nov 29, 2015.

  1. TheTwiggsMGW

    TheTwiggsMGW Member

    Howdy howdy,

    I picked up a Golden Tegu as a rescue at the Repticon in Raleigh, NC last Sunday. I've been planning for a tegu for the past 2 years now and finally made the plunge. He's ~12 inches long snout-tail, eats like a champ and doesn't have parasites in his poop or any other visible health issues that have become visible as of yet (I'm guessing he's from a "farm").

    Anywho, I've read some conflicting information on whether you can feed them fruits/veggies or not and would like a definite answer. He's currently eating dubias, crickets and mealworms, all pre-killed and supplemented.

    He's fairly docile and very active, surprisingly, and only huffs and puffs a bit when I first start handling him. And he's already learned where his food dish is and accepts food from tongs. I think I got lucky with this one.

    Second question: How long do tegu's take to shed? He started about 2-3 days after I got him, and it seems to slowly be working its way from head to tail. It's been ~4 days and his hind legs and parts of his tail still have old skin on it. I gently remove it when I can, but doesn't like me picking at him. I also soak him daily and he soaks himself in his tub. Is there anything I can do to help him or does it normally take this long?

    Thanks in advance, I'll be checking back regularly so if there's any info I've missed just let me know!

    Attached Files:

  2. Darkbird

    Darkbird Moderator Staff Member

    Hi. Well I'll address the shedding first since that's easiest to answer. Lizards don't shed all at once or in one piece the way snakes do, and what you described seems normal. There is also no need to try and pick it off, it really doesn't help and can actually hurt them if you try and pull on a section that's not really ready. Also, there should be no need for baths if the proper conditions are met in the cage. What are you keeping the humidity at, and how are you measuring?
    Now as for the diet, they are omnivores and require some plant matter in their diet, but I'm not sure what the best options are for them.
    If you'd like, put up a few photos of the whole cage and give us a rundown of the conditions, like basking site surface temps, cool end temps and humidity, along with how your measuring them. That way we can address any issues that might be making it more difficult for it to shed.
  3. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Hi, I don`t keep these animals but I`m certain they ARE omnivorous so yes, you can offer fruits and vegs.
    The forced handling will cause a huge amount of stress, you need to leave the animal completely alone until it`s fully acclimated to the enclosure.
    Can you show a few photos of the whole enclosure (including the top view) and give details of the conditions inside, including the type and wattage of basking bulbs, other lighting and also how you measure the temps and humidity? Thanks!
    Edit: Gee Darkbird, you`ve surely got a fast typing finger! ;)
  4. TheTwiggsMGW

    TheTwiggsMGW Member

    Here are some pictures. I've done all of my temperature measuring with a cheap hygrometer that I've used around the house that's accurate with temp but I'm not sure on how accurate the humidity reads (I have a nice Exo-Terra digital one coming in the mail now).

    Cool side is 75-80 depending on how well the wood stove is kept up

    Basking spot is ~100-105, same reason for variance as cool side.

    Substrate is Coco Fiber and Orchid Bark mix and 4-5" deep under his hide. I mist daily and the substrate stays a wet but not inundated.

    There are 2 Exoterra Large Desert Heating Pads on the bottom of the tank to keep the ambient temp up, and under his hide the substrate is regularly 90 degrees (I used a meat thermometer to get this reading).

    He's always up and moving ~30 minutes after the lights have kicked on in the morning, he regularly uses his water bin and basking spot and he knows where his food dish is (I leave a few pre-killed mealworms or crickets in there while I am at work, all other feeding is done by tongs in a separate enclosure in the morning and a small meal before the lights turn out at night). Mid day and at night he burrows in the substrate under his hide. His lights are on a 8am-8pm timer.

    Murrindindi says forced handling causes a lot of stress, but I only pick my tegu up when he walks into my hand. I gently pet him at the base of the tail and the worst he's responded so far is some huffing and puffing and he ran from me when I accidentally jerked my hand because my dog jumped on my leg when I wasn't expecting it. He already accepts food while being held so I'm pretty sure he's at least a little comfortable around me.

    I figured they were omnivorous, but as I said, I kept reading posts saying they were purely carnivores so I was waiting to feed fruits/veggies until I was sure, thank you both for the responses!

    Once again, here's some pictures. The bin on top of the left side is because I dropped and broke the glass that was supposed to be there and I'm waiting on a replacement. (No, the UVB light and heat emitter are not on the other side of glass) IMG_1763.JPG IMG_1764.JPG IMG_1767.JPG IMG_1765.JPG
  5. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Murrindindi stands by his advise that forced handling a newly acquired animal is likely to cause a lot of stress even if that isn`t apparent! ;)
    There are some obvious modifications to be made, namely the part screen top is allowing much heat and humidity to escape, also having the heat bulbs on the outside is basically heating the room as well as the enclosure.
    The heat pads would probably not be necessary at all if the enclosure had a solid top which would help to stabilise the conditions inside.
    What type and wattage is the basking bulb?
  6. TheTwiggsMGW

    TheTwiggsMGW Member

    It's a 250 watt ExoTerra ceramic heat emitter. I do plan on building a full size enclosure once he grows some more, but I can always do that sooner if need be. And I have glass covering the right side except where the UVB is, and I'll have the left covered with glass tomorrow evening when I pick up my replacement piece.

    Do you know of any 40 gallon (long) lids that are solid tops with room for lights/emitters? Or will I need to build one?
  7. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Is the CHE left on at all times, and you haven`t said what the basking bulb is? The CHE is virtually useless being so high up from the inside of the enclosure (heating the room nicely though)!
    I don`t use fishtanks so not sure if they make solid tops, but you can easily use sealed plywood/similar and cut very tight fitting holes for the heat/light bulbs.
    I forgot to say, you have a very nice looking Tegu.
  8. TheTwiggsMGW

    TheTwiggsMGW Member

    Not sure how I missed that :p
    It's an Exo UVB 150 26 watt. The CHE and Light both turn off at night, but the heat pads stay on 24/7. His basking spot temps between 100-105 with the current set up.

    I think I'll end up making a plywood top either Wednesday or this weekend. I may have to move some stuff around to make sure he can still climb on that piece of manzanita after I set the light and CHE down in to the tank.
  9. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    I`m not familiar with an Exo 150 26w, is this an MVB or just a compact fluorescent?
    The 250w will dry out the whole fishtank, a smaller wattage might be suitable as supplementary heat at night if needed.
    There are far more efficient basking heat bulbs (halogens for example).
  10. TheTwiggsMGW

    TheTwiggsMGW Member

    I'm not sure what else I can say about the UVB bulb. It's a compact flourescent made by Exo-Terra with high UVB production. I don't think I'm allowed to link to sale websites, but if you search "Exo UVB 150 26w", it comes up.

    I was planning on using a Solar Glo by Exo once I built a full enclosure, that's both heat and UVB.
  11. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    The compact UVB bulbs are not nearly as effective as the (decent) fluorescent tubes such as the T5 HO (high output) types or the better mercury vapour bulbs.
    From what you`ve said it seems clear that the CHE is the primary heat source at the basking site, unfortunately they are virtually useless because they direct heat all around rather than downwards towards the animal.
    It`s absolutely URGENT you install suitable basking bulbs, I recommend using relatively low wattage halogens (must be flood beam and used with a ceramic bulb holder). These bulbs can be fitted with a dimmer switch which makes adjusting the surface temp much easier or obviously you can raise/lower the bulb/s or basking object.
    Once the top is covered as completely as possible I would think 2 @ 50w may be sufficient, but it is trial and error (place them a few inches apart).
    I use either par 30 or par 38 (par refers to the bulb face diameter), they are cheap to buy, and can last up to 3,000 hours.. I need to use more because of my animal`s size,


    Last edited: Nov 30, 2015
    TheTwiggsMGW likes this.
  12. TheTwiggsMGW

    TheTwiggsMGW Member

    Thanks for all of the info. Looks like I'll be building the full enclosure sooner than later. I guess since I have you hooked, is there a benefit outside of cost for using plexiglass as a front face to the enclosure? I can get hardened glass just as cheap through my work.
  13. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    I always use 6mm (1/4 inch) plate glass for the front, plexiglass scratches very easily for one thing.
    Covering the top of the current tank and fitting better basking bulbs (halogens) will give you a little time to build the permanent home.
    It seriously IS very urgent that you provide a suitable basking area which currently the lizard doesn`t have.
  14. TheTwiggsMGW

    TheTwiggsMGW Member

    Gotcha, and will do. Thanks again!
  15. Darkbird

    Darkbird Moderator Staff Member

    And to add a little something, skip the pet store and get most of your bulbs and all the fixtures from the hardware store. Ceramic light sockets are only like a buck and a half if that, and can be attached directly to the interior of your plywood top. I usually use a hole saw to cut an opening directly above the fixtures to minimize any chance of overheating the wood, and to pass the wiring through. You'll probably be going down in wattage a lot once you cover the top, and a few pieces of foam sheet on the back and both sides will help even more. Just some ideas to help save some cash.

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