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Blue Tegu – Information & Care

Blue tegus are not a separate species of tegu (unlike the Red tegu), but rather a color morph of the Argentine black and white tegu (salvator merianae) which tends to be much smaller in size.

Despite their name they are not really blue, they look very similar to the black and white tegu but may get more of a subtle blueish or platinum coloration as adults.

Just like any other Argentine tegu, they are relatively easy to tame and make for great pets under the right conditions.

Blue Tegu
Blue Tegu

Blue Tegu Care Sheet

General Info

Blue Tegu

The so-called “blue” tegu is a morph of the the Argentine black & white tegu, the most common and easy to care for species of tegu. They look almost entirely identical to the black and white tegu as babies, but by the time they reach sexual maturity they tend to show more white colorations with blue-ish undertones. They also tend to grow smaller in size than regular Argentine tegus.


A tegu lizard in the wild can live for up to 12 years, but in captivity life expectancy can go up to 15-20 years. Some people have reported tegus living up to 22 years. Because of this, caring for a tegu is considered a big life commitment – much like getting a dog. Make sure you do extensive research before you decide to adopt one of this animals.


Tegu lizards can grow really big rather quickly. Argentine tegus are also known as “Giant tegus” because they are the largest species which can grow up to 4.5 feet and weigh over 20 pounds as adults. Blue tegus however tend to be slightly smaller in size, averaging 3-3.5 feet. Keep in mind that it is not possible to estimate tegu size by age as each specimen grows at different rates based on diet and environmental factors. As a rule of thumb, males grow larger than females, and pets that are fed daily and do not undergo brumation will get larger in size compared to those who are fed more sporadically.

Tegu growth chart

SpeciesMax size for adult male
Black and white tegu4’-4.5’
Red tegu4’-4.5’
Blue tegu3.5’-4’
Colombian tegu2.5’-3’
Blue Tegu Facts and Information
Blue Tegu

Enclosure requirements


When setting up an enclosure for your tegu you will need a lot of room for it to roam freely. While juvenile tegus can be kept in 10- or 20- gallon aquariums, fully grown lizards will need anything between 8 and 16 square feet of space, depending on their size. Blue tegus tend to grow quite big, and males grow larger than females. A 6x3x3 enclosure may suffice for smaller specimens, but the bigger the better.


Tegus are cold blooded and need sources of external heat to warm themselves up. Because of this, it is crucial to set up their enclosure in a way that offers both warm and cool spots, allowing them to thermoregulate their body temperature. Make sure to have a warm environment with day time temperature ranging from 100-110F and another cooler area inside the cage with temperatures between 80 and 85F. Not having a well lit, heated spot in the cage may lead to the tegu going into brumation during winter, in this period of time the tegu will mostly retreat to their cage and refuse to eat regularly. This is a totally normal form of hibernation that occurs in nature that will not hurt your tegu, and is actually needed for females to be able to breed. Tegu owners who are not interested in breeding generally prefer to avoid letting their pets go into brumation because they will cease nearly all interaction during this period, and may halt their growth due to the limited food intake.


All species of tegu require 12-14 hours of UVB light exposure per day. Ideally, let the tegu roam outside to get access to sun rays as often as possible, while keeping a UVB light inside their cage using an automated heat lamp with a 12 hours on-off schedule. A heat lamp will provide both precious UVB and a source of heat during the day. If you intend to start brumating your tegu, shorten the timer on your heat lamp to 8 or 6 hours to simulate shorter day times, and eventually turn them off completely.


Tegus are burrowing animals which need a substrate depth of around 12-24″. Burrowing is necessary for tegus to keep their bodies active and claws filed without the need of nail trimming by their owners. As the majority of tegus come from wet areas with plenty of rain, it is important to choose a bedding substrate that holds humidity. The best substrate for tegu is cypress mulch, which can be mixed with topsoil and sand. Other DIY mixes often include coconut shells or reptisoil.


Tegus require a high level of humidity, around 75-90%. This can be achieved by choosing adequate humidity retaining soil, by spraying the top soil and tegu itself with water regularly, and leaving a bowl of water in the enclosure every day, which the tegu will use for both drinking and “freshening up”. Make sure any water bowl you introduce to your tegu enclosure is tip-proof and big enough for your pet to soak in it. Replace the water daily.


Your enclosure needs to provide your tegu with both hiding spots and sources of entertainment. Tegus, particularly young ones, often fall prey to birds and larger reptiles and you will need to provide them with a hide box or “cave” where they can feel safe from predators and sleep comfortably. A dog kennel or large plastic bucket can be used for adult tegus. If you can get your hands on a very large hollow log, that will also do the job. Keep in mind that tegus are highly intelligent creatures and as such, they tend to get bored easily: they need to interact with their environment, play with it, and at times they tend to destroy everything in sight. Make sure to keep your tegu entertained by adding plants, barks, boxes and “toys” around. Many owners will occasionally hide their pet’s food or offer live prey to give the tegus an opportunity to scavenge and hunt as they would in the wild.

Blue Tegu Care
Blue Tegu

Tegu Diet

Tegus are scavengers who eat just about anything. In the wild, their diet relies heavily on insects, plants, fruits, eggs and small animals such as rodents. In captivity, it’s important to feed your tegu a mix of meat and veggies, with the occasional whole prey, but they will most likely munch on anything you throw at them. Argentine tegus are considered omnivore, in nature they have been observed eating fruits, vegetables and meat in almost equal amounts. In captivity, it is best to provide them with a balanced diet that minimizes fats and sugar in order to avoid obesity and other potential health complications.

Food requirements

Juvenile blue tegus should be fed a diet high in protein in order to promote growth. This can be achieved by feeding mostly insects such as cockroaches, crickets, grasshoppers, earthworms, mealworms, silkworms and snails. As they grow larger, you may be able to start feeding them pinkies and reptilinks. Eventually, you can feed them raw chicken and turkey, raw or boiled eggs (with the shell), fish and shrimp; as well as vegetables and fruits such as carrots, bell peppers, squash, pumpkins, dandelions, strawberries, blueberries, apples, grapes, cherries, cactus pads and fruits. Argentine tegus need plenty of fruits and vegetables in their diet as adults, but it’s best to go easy on fruits which are naturally high in sugar. As a rule of thumb, aim at the following diet percentages:

Dietary requirements
Juvenile blue tegu (0-2 years)90% protein, 10% fruits and vegetables
Adult blue tegu (>2 years)60% protein, 30% vegetables, 10% fruits

Feeding schedule

How often you need to feed your tegu depends largely on its age. The younger your pet, the more often it needs to be fed. Fully grown adults only need to be fed a couple of times a week, although you may still decide to feed them daily (make sure you don’t over do it or you risk ending up with an obese lizard).

Feeding schedule
Hatchlings (0-6 months)Feed every day
Juveniles (7-12 months)Feed almost every day
Subadults (1-3 years)Feed every other day
Adults (>3 years)Feed twice a week

Foods to avoid

  • Wild caught insects
  • Processed meats
  • Canned food that is high in sodium or sugar
  • Avocados
  • Azalea flowers
  • Azalea leaves
  • Broccoli
  • Buttercup flowers
  • Eggplant
  • Hemp
  • Marijuana leaves or flowers
  • Onion
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Spinach

Feed in moderation:

  • Raw eggs – can lower vitamin B7 absorption
  • Citrus and acidic fruits such as oranges and tomatoes
  • Fruits that are high in phosphorus or sugars – see: how to choose the best fruits for your tegu
  • Vegetables with poor nutrient contents such as lettuce and cucumber
  • Vegetables high in oxalates and goitrogens – see: how to choose the best vegetables for your tegu
  • Raw fish containing thiaminase (such as anchovies, bass, bream, carp, goldfish, tuna) – can lower vitamin B1 absorption


Calcium supplements are especially recommended for reptiles. Ideally, prefer a calcium supplement that is free of phosphorus and vitamin D3 and dust your tegus’s food with it once to twice per week. Occasionally feeding whole prey (e.g. frozen mice, whole fish with bones) can also help provide calcium as opposed to ground meats.

Finally, you may also gut load live insect preys with calcium and then feed them to your tegu. You can also sprinkle or mix a multivitamin with your tegu’s food once a week. These recommendations are the same for all tegus regardless of age and species.

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