Tegu lizards can safely eat shrimp, prawn, crab, and most kinds of shellfish and crawfish. Not only these are a great source of protein but they can also provide much-needed calcium from their shells and bones.
It is best to feed seafood to tegus whole, raw and unshelled, checking first that the shell is not too hard. Sometimes frozen products you get from the grocery store are pre-cooked and have a hardened shell, in this case you may want to remove the shell in order to avoid the risk of choking and impaction.
Taken the necessarily precautions, seafood is one of the best and healthiest food options for tegu lizards, for it contains all the necessary vitamins, minerals and nutrients needed by a reptile, and they can substitute other common whole prey reptile food such as pinkie mice, rabbits and chicks.
Unfortunately, most types of seafood is very high in sodium, which means it should not be fed on a regular basis. Ideally, you will offer your pet tegu different types of protein in the form of fish, insects, eggs and white meat (poultry).
Another healthy alternative is reptilinks, a type of “sausage” made specifically for reptiles meant to substitute whole prey that often contains added calcium.
Tegu & Seafood FAQs
Is it okay to feed raw shrimp to my tegu?
Yes, it is safe to feed raw shrimp to your tegu as long as it is fresh and properly cleaned. However, raw shrimp carries a risk of containing harmful bacteria, viruses, or parasites that can cause illness or infection.
To minimize the risk, it is recommended to freeze the raw shrimp for at least 24 hours before feeding it to your tegu to kill any potential pathogens. Also, make sure to remove the head, tail, and shell before feeding the shrimp to your pet, as these parts can be difficult to digest and may cause choking or digestive issues.
You may chop or grind these into smaller pieces to make them easier to digest as they are a good source of calcium. Do not feed cooked unshelled seafood to tegus as the cooking process can make the shell even harder and an increased choking hazard.
Can I feed my tegu saltwater shrimp?
While saltwater shrimp can be a nutritious and tasty treat for your tegu, it is not recommended to feed them as a staple food. The high salt content in saltwater shrimp can lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalances in your pet if consumed in large amounts.
It is best to offer freshwater shrimp or a variety of other protein sources as the main part of your tegu’s diet, and limit the intake of saltwater shrimp to occasional treats. If you do offer saltwater shrimp, make sure to rinse them thoroughly with fresh water before feeding them to your tegu to remove any excess salt.
Is it better to feed my tegu shelled or unshelled shrimp?
Both shelled and unshelled shrimp can be fed to your tegu, but shelled shrimp is easier to digest and reduces the risk of choking or digestive issues. However, tegus are opportunistic feeders and can eat the shell as a source of calcium, which is important for their bone health.
If you decide to feed unshelled shrimp, make sure to crush or chop the shell into small pieces to make it easier to digest, and prefer raw over cooked. Alternatively, you can offer a calcium supplement along with shelled shrimp to ensure your tegu gets enough calcium in their diet.
Is it okay to feed my tegu frozen shrimp?
Yes, frozen shrimp is a convenient and safe option for feeding your tegu. It is important to thaw the shrimp completely before feeding it to your pet to prevent digestive issues or blockages. You can thaw the shrimp in the refrigerator overnight or by placing it in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes.
Avoid microwaving or boiling frozen shrimp as it can cause uneven thawing and destroy important nutrients. Once thawed, make sure to rinse the shrimp thoroughly with fresh water to remove any excess salt or debris before feeding it to your tegu.
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PetsWithScales.com is an informational website about big lizard pet care. We collect and provide information from different sources across the web on how to keep and care for reptiles as pets. The species we mainly deal with are tegus, monitor lizards, skinks and geckos. Our aim is to provide high quality information to help pet owners make better, more informed decisions about their animal’s diets, health and life.