Commercial Tegu food can be expensive and may not always have the best ingredients. One of the best ways to save money on tegu food is to prepare it yourself, and to use readily available, fresh, healthy ingredients that ensure a varied diet.
Meal prepping your tegu’s food in advance can save you time and money in the long run. Not only will you be able to control the ingredients and portions, but you’ll also be able to freeze the food for future use.
Tegus have different dietary requirements based on their species and age. Juvenile and baby tegus, regardless of species, require a diet that is 90% protein and 10% fruits and vegetables. Adult Colombian tegus, also known as Gold tegus or Golden tegus, have the same dietary requirements as juveniles.
Adult Argentine tegus, also known as Black and White tegus (and including the Blue tegu morph), as well as adult Red tegus, require a diet that is 60% protein, 30% vegetables, and 10% fruits.
Please note that tegus can be fussy eaters and may dislike their greens, so it’s a good idea to “hide” them in their food when you prepare a meal. Feeding fruits is much easier, but too much sugar can lead to weigth problems so it’s best to only offer it as a treat.
Best Ingredients for Tegu Mash
When it comes to Tegu food, it’s important to focus on ingredients that are high in protein, low in phosphorus, and rich in calcium. Some of the best ingredients to use include turkey, chicken, fish, and various fruits and vegetables.
Collard greens, for example, have the most ideal Ca:P ratio (14.5:1) and can be fed indiscriminately. Other regular staples are dandelion leaves, endive, escarole, mustard greens, prickly pear cactus pods, and turnip greens. These are all nutrient-dense, high in calcium and low in phosphorus. Avoid certain vegetables, such as lettuce and cucumber, as they mainly contain water and low in nutrition.
As far as protein sources are concerned, turkey, chicken and fish are all excellent options. You can find these meats at most grocery stores, but if you want to save money, you can also check out Asian markets. These stores often have a wide variety of meats at a lower cost than regular grocery stores.
You can also find whole fish, such as smelt, silversides and duck heart, which can be ground and added to your Tegu’s diet for variety. When it comes to organ meats, chicken liver, heart and gizzards, are the best options. You can also find these at most grocery stores or Asian markets.
Meal Prep Techniques
One of the best ways to save time and money on Tegu food is to meal prep in bulk in advance. You can make large batches of Tegu food and then portion it out into individual servings, which can be stored in the freezer for later use, and many tegu owners prepare their mash or patties directly inside of ice trays or egg containers they can then just shove in the freezer.
This way, you always have Tegu food on hand, and you don’t have to spend time preparing it every day. Another technique is to grind your ingredients in a food processor. This makes it easier to mix different ingredients together and ensures that everything is the right size for your Tegu to eat.
Tasty Tegu Mash
|1 pound ground turkey or white fish, raw||1/2 cups chopped leafy greens (dandelion greens, endive, escarole, collard greens, Swiss chard, bok choy)||1/2 cup mashed ripe fruit (banana, pear, apple, mango, kiwi)||2 tsp reptile calcium powder without D3 **|
|2 cans of snails, thoroughly rinsed with water or 2 quail eggs, raw including shells||1/3 cups chopped vegetables (bell peppers, okra, squash, green beans)||1/2 cup berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries)||2 tsp reptile multivitamin*|
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground turkey or white fish, chopped cantaloupe or honeydew melon, mashed ripe fruit/berries, and rinsed snails or quail eggs with crushed shells. Mix well.
- Add the chopped leafy greens and mix thoroughly.
- Sprinkle the RepCal Calcium with vitamin D3 and RepCal Herptivite multivitamin over the mixture and stir until evenly distributed.
- Portion out the mixture into appropriate serving sizes for your tegu and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer.
- Thaw frozen portions in the refrigerator overnight before serving.
|1 pound ground turkey or ground fish||2 cups minced kale or collard greens||–||1-2 tablespoons calcium powder*|
|4 quail eggs or 4 whole small shrimp or prawns (with shell on)||–||–||–|
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground turkey or ground fish, mashed sweet potato or butternut squash, and minced kale or collard greens.
- Add 1-2 tablespoons of calcium powder to the mixture, and stir well to combine.
- Divide the mixture into 4 portions and shape each portion into a patty or ball.
- Place a quail egg or a whole small shrimp or prawn (with shell on) on top of each patty or ball, and gently press it down.
- Wrap each patty or ball with a large cabbage leaf, making sure to cover it completely.
- Place each wrapped patty or ball in a freezer-safe container, and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- To serve, thaw the wrapped patty or ball in the refrigerator overnight, and then serve raw to your tegu.
Healthy Tegu Salad
|1/2 cup chicken gizzards, livers and hearts or raw shrimp with shell||2 cups mixed greens (mustard greens, collard greens, turnip greens), washed and chopped||1/2 cup diced papaya or mango||2 tsp reptile calcium powder without D3 **|
|(optional) 1 egg, cracked and mixed in, with shells incorporated for extra calcium||1/2 cup cubed squash||1/2 cup blueberries||reptile multivitamin *|
- In a large bowl, mix together the chopped greens, cubed squash, diced papaya or mango, and blueberries dusted with calcium.
- Add the chicken gizzards, livers and hearts or whole raw shrimp with the shell on.
- If using an egg, crack it into the bowl and mix it thoroughly with the salad.
- Serve the salad immediately, or store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
High Protein Mesh for Juveniles and Colombian Tegus
|Protein (90%)||Vegetables (10%)||Supplements|
|– 1 pound ground turkey||– 2 cups mixed greens (mustard greens, collard greens, turnip greens), washed and chopped||– D3 free calcium supplement**
|– 8 ounces chicken livers||– Handful of berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries)||– Reptile Multivitamin*|
|– 8 ounces chicken gizzards and hearts|
|– 4 ounces raw shrimp or prawns with shell on|
1. In a food processor, combine the ground turkey, chicken livers, chicken gizzards, hearts, and raw shrimp or prawns. Process until well blended into a mesh-like consistency.
2. Transfer the protein mixture to a mixing bowl.
3. Add the mixed greens and berries to the bowl and mix well with the protein mixture.
4. Shape the mixture into appropriate serving sizes for your tegu and place them in feeding dishes.
5. Twice a week, sprinkle the D3 free calcium supplement over the servings as directed.
6. Once a week, administer the multivitamin as directed.
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.