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Male or female? How to sex your tegu

Determining the gender of your tegu can be especially difficult in the case of hatchlings and juvenile lizards, but not impossible. Males have a single larger scale on the underside of their tail base on both sides of their cloacal vent; unlike females who miss this feature entirely. When handling your tegu, check if you can feel any small raised bump. Adult tegus aged 2 and 3 have much more pronounced features so it’s easy to tell males from females. Male tegus have large, well-developed jowls, they tend to get much bigger in size compared to females, and have a somewhat more vibrant coloration.

Buff Orpington Cockerel
Buff Orpington Cockerel
Female Tegu vs Male Tegu

Keeping male vs female tegu 

Whether it’s better for you to get a male or female tegu depends on a few factors. There are not many differences in how to care for one gender compared to the other, but because males tend to grow larger, they also require more space. Females on the other hand have to go through a period of brumation in order to ready their body to lay eggs, but it is safe to skip this process if you do not intend to have your female breed. Females do not lay unfertilized eggs and they are not known to become egg bound. 

Housing male and female tegus together

You can house a male and a female together, chances are they’ll get along. Even tegus of the same gender will usually “tolerate” their housemates as long as you provide enough room for both of them to burrow and wander around. Tegus become sexually mature at around age 2 (when the so called “guberty” or tegu puberty starts), and housing a male and a female together may result in breeding. As already mentioned, in order to successfully breed female tegus need to undergo multiple cycles of brumation, which prepares their body to form and lay eggs. Not allowing your tegu to go into brumation (by keeping lights on and steady temperatures year round) may prevent your tegus from breeding, but it is otherwise not considered unhealthy. On the other hand, allowing a female to breed and lay eggs may result in a considerable expenditure of energy which could shorten her lifespan.

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