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Blue tegu

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Blue tegu

Blue Tegu
An immature blue tegu resting
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Sauria
Family: Teiidae
Genus: Tupinambis
Species: Tupinambis spp.
Binomial name
Tupinambis spp.
Linnaeus, 1758

The blue tegu is a smaller tegu, growing to about 1 meter or more long, renowned for its light blue coloration, which is most intense on adult males. Even immature animals can be easily distinguished from other mostly black and white tegu species by the "singe mark" on their nose. They are among the more suitable tegus for pets, and can be easily tamed but in the wild will either try to run away or react aggressively if provoked. There is much controversy in the hobbyist community about the correct scientific classification of this animal. It is often thought to be a mutation of the Argentine Black and White Tegu, while some see as different enough to have its own classification.

The coloring of a blue tegu can range from a simple black and white animal to albino to a powder blue to even "platinum" which is basically a high white morph of the species. The blue coloration is typically most vivid on mature males and doesn't tend to appear until the animal reaches sexual maturity around the age of 18 months or 2 feet or more in size.

Just like the Argentine Black and White Tegu, the blue tegu has a very quick growth rate, almost reaching 75% of its full length in a year. Their adult length can vary from 2.5 feet in females to sometimes even longer than 4 feet in adult males. Unlike other lizards these are very heavily built animals ranging from 7 to 12 pounds or more when fully grown. Size is relative to genetics as well as husbandry and diet.

Contents

  • Housing 1
  • Feeding 2
  • Variations 3
  • Hibernation 4
  • Gender 5
  • Breeding 6
  • References 7

Housing

To accommodate their size, a lone adult should be housed in nothing smaller than a 6'x3'x2' size cage, with the largest floor size possible. For a pair, 6'x4' floor space may be sufficient with time spent outside their enclosure but bigger is always better. About a foot of mulch should be used to allow for burrowing and to help keep humidity up.

A good UVA and UVB bulb really helps with the raising of these animals. Some people have done it without a light but it's one of those things where its better to have one and not need it than to need one and be without it. Along with UV a blue tegu also needs the basic heating of ambient overall temperature of 85 (F) and with a basking temp being around 43C (110F). For healthy shedding a humidity of 60-80% is preferred.

Like most lizards, fresh water should be provided daily. Like other tegus you should make sure your tegu has enough water to soak in if they wish. Some tegus are also known to enjoy swimming and since they grow to about 1 meter long or more, a medium to large kitty litter box can be used as an appropriate sized water dish.

Like other tegus, a foot of substrate should cover the floor as they are ground dwelling creatures. Be sure to stay away from any sticky substrate that may get caught in the Tegu's claws. Examples include Cyprus mulch, eucalyptus bark, Lizard Litter and Repti Bark.(needs citation)

Feeding

These tegus are thought to be almost strictly meat eaters by some. Most like various feeder insects like mealworms, superworms, earthworms, silkworms, crickets and roaches. They also eat mice, rats, ground turkey, crayfish, dog food (not recommended), rabbit, chicks and eggs. A varied diet will keep a blue's interest but they often have favorites and as adults stick to one food type. Always offer fruits and vegetables on occasion as they all have their own personality and taste for what they like.

It is important to make sure all insects fed are dusted with a mineral/multi-vitamin supplement; mice will not require this as they are a "complete meal," including bones. Vitamin deficiencies can lead to trouble shedding skin, lethargy and weight loss; a calcium deficiency can lead to Metabolic Bone Disease, which can be fatal.[1]

Variations

There are many different shades of blue and as hatchlings it's hard to tell what they'll look like when they grow up. However, the blue tegu does offer something unique when it comes to tegus, they come in an Albino and Snow phase. The Snow phase is a tegu that is completely white without pattern or red eyes to it.

Hibernation

Like other tegus, the blue tegu may or may not enter a state of hibernation for 5-7 months out of the year depending on the surrounding environment. More likely in this species, in warmer climates when kept in captivity they will enter a brumation state where they will "slow down" and not fully hibernate.

Gender

As with other large lizards, the tegu's sex cannot be determined without probing (only to be attempted by a professional) until adulthood, in the tegu 25-28 inches. In females there are clitoral bumps on the V area at the base of the tail and for males a bump at the base of the tale in the center underside. Another way to tell your tegu's sex is the males generally have a wider 'puffier' jaw whereas females have a more narrow jawline.

Breeding

Blue tegus, like other tegus, may breed up to twice a year, however only lay between 18 and 25 eggs in a 'clutch', sometimes more dependent upon animal size and husbandry as well as individual heath of the gravid female.

References

  1. ^ http://www.grizzlyrun.com/Pets/Reptiles/Lizards/Tegus/Default.htm
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