Blue Tegus

 High Percentage Blue Tegu: Father of some of our future breeders

 

We were lucky enough to receive one of the original blue tegu's that came into the US in an aberrant shipment in the 90's. They are a moderately sized tegu, averaging about 3 to 3 1/2 feet of which over half is tail. Like in most tegus, they have an interesting beaded skin, and as in the common tegu, their skin is predominately black with white markings (or white with black markings depending on which color is dominate in that individual, or in how you look at it I guess). The Blues however are noteworthy for the pale sky blue to teal blue tint that the white skin can take on in the adults. They lack the blue as juvies but can still be readily differentiated from other Tegus by their lack of a green head as hatchlings and the dark sooty nose patch most individuals possess. While they are often considered to be the same species as the Argentinian Black and White tegu (Tupinambis merianae), the scuttlebutt at the time was that this group had come from the Brazilian border and were at the very least a distinct locale of merianae if not in fact a different species / subspecies.  Only a handful came in of which we took one male sight unseen. Unfortunately once we saw him and decided we wanted a group, the rest had been sold and no more arrived. Ron Saint Pierre took the majority of them and made them famous. But the vast majority eventually produced were sold out of the country or crossed into Argentinians and the "blue" coloration for which they are renown was largely lost. We eventually parted with our male and moved on to other projects.

 Lately though we began to notice a few people had been putting the effort into rekindling the true blue tegu so we decided to try these beauties again. We that in mind, we picked up a handful of cherry-picked babies out of a couple of exceptional sets of adults during the summer of 2014.  We have a group from a high percentage blue pair that carry the higher white background trait from a Chacoan line of tegus, as well as offspring from some exceptionally bright colored, reputed to be pure blue parents. The goal was to get high white individuals (as the blue only shows up in the white) while trying to select for the highest degree of blue pigmentation actually showing up in the resulting offspring.  In theory our current juvies have a shot at breeding 2015 but more likely it will be 2016 before we have our first hatchlings.  That will give us 2015 to see how our stock is coloring up and pair the best individuals accordingly. 

 

Care of Blue Tegus

Tegus are omnivores with very modest needs, making them very easy to care for. Most reach about 3 to 3 1/2 feet of which over half is tail. Note the tail can break off if grabbed so never handle them by the tail. It does grow back but it is not as showy as the original tail. They have an interesting beaded skin of white and markings with the white eventually developing a blue tint in better specimens.  Housing: They do best in well ventilated cages with plenty of floor space. Babies and juvies do fine in a 40 gal breeder style tank but eventually you will want a minimum of 5x 2 or larger setup. They are poor climbers so emphasis floor space over height in their housing. If you wish to use an aquarium, choose a 75 gal Breeder type (low) for adults and cover the back and lower half of the sides with a background. We offer a large, low hide box or cave for them to sleep in and a large but shallow water bowl within which they can fully soak. For bedding we use either an inch of aspen shavings or chunky coconut husk fiber. Avoid sand or pelleted beddings. For the most part we keep the bedding dry but then mist the overall cage very lightly once every week to up the general humidity levels. We also keep the bedding in their sleeping cave ever so slightly damp to aid in shedding, but keep the rest of the cage dry.

Lighting/Heat: Tegus prefer moderately warm cage temperatures. Overall daytime ground temperatures in the upper 80's work well. Create a hotter basking area (95F max) off to one side of the tank by using an Infra-Red or flood basking bulb shining over a piece of flat slate or similar rock (note: don't use black rocks). Do NOT use hot rocks or similar in-cage; electric underbelly heaters. These can cause serious injury to your animals. A small under-the-tank heating pad is ok for supplemental heat but at least some basking light is still essential. The area farthest from the basking site should be in the upper 70s F, permitting your animals to self-regulate their body temperature. All the lights need to go off at night, allowing the cage to drop into the mid 70s. Turn on an under-tank heating pad at night if your temps get lower than 70F. If you wish to bred them then they will need cooler winter temperatures, but if kept as companion animals only then no hibernation period seems to be needed.

They are omnivores and do well on a variety of diets. We rear ours on a base diet of canned dog food (Purina One or Pedigree chunky style - specifically because they have more veggies in the mix) with added minerals (Repashy Hy D Miner Supplement). To that we add the occasional small mouse, insects, and fruit/veggies (banana, strawberries, melon, grated squash, peas, carrots, etc). Many breeders use raw turkey burger mixed with a vitamin supplement as part of the diet as well. Adults will take small thawed chicken legs/ thighs, as well as small whole birds (quail) that are often offered by most rodent food breeders. The key is to limit any fatty foods such as mice and offer a variety of items. We feed them daily as juveniles but only on alternate days as they reach maturity. They can get fat easily in captivity so feed accordingly. They are aggressive feeders! Dont handle them during feeding time. Feed first then let them settle in a while, then handle them if you wish. They tend to be very calm early in the mornings as well, well before feeding time. The more you handle them the tamer they get.

 

A large but low water bowl is essential both for drinking and soaking. Shallow cat litter boxes work well; just pick a size appropriate to the size of our tegu. Paint roller pans are good for juvies as they have an easy in/out ramp for them to use and they come in bright colors yet are very inexpensive.

 

 
Pure Blue Father Pure Blue Mom
 Father of Pure Blue Juvies    Mother of Pure Blue  juvies

 

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We are avid supporters of captive breeding  and are always looking to support fellow breeders by purchasing healthy captively produced clutches of blue or red tegus.  Please let us know if you have an interest in wholesaling your clutches.  We hold all purchased specimens for a minimum of several weeks after being shipped to us so we can verify their condition and to let them settle in before being offered to our customers.  So you can rest assured your hatchlings will be well cared for.  We occasionally buy exceptional adults as well.  E-mail us photos if you wish us to consider your specimens.

For those looking for hatchlings or older specimens,  please look over our various web pages to get a feel for what we carry.   Please see "Deer Fern Farms Ordering / Policies for ordering information.  Availability for the various species can be seasonal or sporadic so please e-mail or call us (360 435-2679) if you're looking for to add a unique reptile to your family. We keep a "Wanted" list and fill it as specimens become available. 

We ship based on the prevailing weather patterns between us and you. Usually we can ship most weeks, but when large storms/severe heat or cold are forecasted, we prefer to hold off.   Please see  "Deer Fern Farms Ordering / Prices" for ordering information.

 


 
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Email: douglasdix@deerfernfarms.com        

Copyright 1992-2014 by  Douglas Dix. All rights reserved for all photos and text.