Caring for a tegu lizard is in many way similar to caring for a small dog. These massive reptiles like to eat a lot and because of that dealing with their toilet habits can be unpleasant as a pet owner.
Many people prefer to have their tegus do their business in the bathtub where it’s easier to clean. Luckily, tegus are intelligent animals that with some effort can successfully be potty trained.
Tegu poop check
Firm / runny poop
The consistency of your tegu’s excrements will depend on what you feed it and it’s not necessarily an indication of its health. Runny stool may be an indication that you are feeding too much egg and ground meat and can be fixed by implementing more whole prey (e.g. rodents and reptilink) to their diet.
Yellow / white “stuff” in the stool
Reptiles often release urates with their poop, which look like yellow / white excrements and may be more crystallized than regular stool. Adult males may also release white sperm plugs at the same time.
How often do tegus poop?
Most adult tegus poop daily. Some may have a slower metabolism and poop every other day, that is fine. If you notice any noticeable change in toilet schedule than your tegu may be constipated, in which case you can try gently rubbing its belly while bathing it in lukewarm water and see if it helps.
On rare occasions a tegu may show signs of coprophagy, that is, it may eat its own faeces. This is normal animal behavior and shouldn’t be cause of concern. You can be disgusted by it, though.
Impaction occurs when a reptile eats food that it cannot digest and it gets stuck in its stomach. It can happen if your tegu accidentally swallows substrate or an old sock. Impaction is a serious condition which may require surgery, so it’s best to consult a vet if you notice your tegu is in distress and has not pooped in a while. You will know that something is wrong if your tegu stops eating and looks less active than usual, a lack of bowel movements by itself is not a sign of impaction.
Can you potty train a tegu?
People have managed to potty train their tegus with varying degrees of success. Tegus have good memory so once you take them to do their business in a particular spot a couple of times, they will learn that’s their designated toilet. In order to do so, try to learn your tegu’s pooping schedule and recognize signs that it may be time to “go”.
Some caregivers take their tegu out of the enclosure for feeding and shortly after move it to the bathroom for toilet time. Soaking them in water generally helps them relax their body and release whatever they have eaten the day before.
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.