Fruits and vegetables are an important part of a tegu lizard’s diet, as the main source of vitamins and micronutrients they need in order to stay healthy.
Tegus are omnivore and need both protein from animal sources and a wide variety of fruits and vegetables in order to thrive. Nutrition experts recommend feeding your adult Argentine tegu or Red tegu no more than 30% of its diet in the form of vegetables (plus an additional 10% of fruit), whereas adult Colombian tegus and all juvenile tegus should have a high protein diet with only 10% of combined fruits and veggies.
|Juvenile tegus (0-2 years)||90% protein||10% fruits and vegetables|
|Argentine tegu (>2 years)||60% protein||30% vegetables, 10% fruits|
|Colombian tegu (>2 years)||90% protein||10% fruits and vegetables|
What vegetables can tegus eat
Tegus can eat pretty much anything, with very few exceptions. When it comes to veggies, you have to make sure you provide nutrient dense greens that have a high Ca:P ratio (higher in calcium than phosphorus), and that you don’t overfeed foods that are high in oxalates or goitrogens. Too much oxalates will hinder calcium absorption which can lead to metabolic bone disease, whereas goitrogenic foods in large amounts may cause thyroid issues. Because of this, a few vegetables such as spinach should be avoided or kept to a minimum.
Best veggies for tegu
The best veggies to feed your tegu are nutrient-dense, high in calcium and low in phosphorus. Collard greens have the most ideal Ca:P ratio (14.5:1) and can be fed indiscriminately. Other regular staples are dandelions, endive and escarole, mustard and turnip greens, and prickly pear cactus.
Because your tegu needs a variety of foods in its diet, you should also add other types of vegetables every couple of days to make sure they get a wide variety of nutrients: in moderation you can feed kale, which is a superfood and incredibly packed with all sorts of vitamins and minerals, sweet peppers, squash, cabbage and watercress. Avoid foods that have very high water contents and little nutrition, such as lettuce and cucumbers.
|Collard greens||Calcium, vitamin A,C, E, K, fibers and folates||Excellent source of calcium|
|Dandelion leaves||Calcium, vitamin A||Must be pesticide-free|
|Endive / Escarole||Calcium, vitamin A, C, K|
|Mustard greens||Calcium, vitamin A, C, K|
|Prickly pear cactus pods||Calcium, vitamin C, antioxidants and fiber||Remove thorns and cut into pieces|
|Turnip greens||Calcium, vitamin A, C|
|Basil||Vitamin A, antioxidants|
|Bell peppers||Antioxidants, vitamin A, C|
|Bok choy||Vitamin A, C||Goitrogenic|
|Cabbage||Calcium, vitamin A, C, fiber, iron, potassium||Goitrogenic|
|Celery leaves||Antioxidants, vitamin C|
|Cilantro||Antioxidants, calcium, potassium, manganese, vitamins A, C, K|
|Grape leaves||Protein, vitamin A, calcium|
|Kale||Vitamin A, C, K, potassium, manganese, magnesium, calcium||Small amounts of oxalatesSomewhat goitrogenic|
|Kohlrabi||Fiber, protein, vitamin B, C, potassium and folates||High in goitrogens|
|Pea sprouts||Vitamin A and K||High in phosphorus|
|Squash||Antioxidants, vitamin A, C, K, fibers and folates|
|Watercress||Vitamin A, C, K, calcium, manganese||High in oxalates|
Can tegus eat cucumber?
Tegus can eat cucumber, but it is one of the least nutritious vegetables you can feed them. Because cucumbers are made almost entirely of water, there is no value in feeding a tegu cucumbers when they can get hydrated by just drinking water. Get them some more vitamins and nutrients from other sources.
Can tegus eat garlic?
Garlic is not good for tegus and should be avoided, as it contains a lot of phosphorus and acidic content.
Can tegus eat kale?
Kale is safe for tegus in moderation and one of the most highly nutritious vegetables you can feed them.
Can tegus eat lettuce?
Like cucumbers, lettuce leaves are made mainly of water and not very nutritious. As a rule of thumb, the lighter green the color of the lettuce, the least nutritious it is, which is why dark leafy greens are considered healthier than iceberg lettuce. Dark colored lettuce like lamb’s lettuce and purple colored lettuces like radicchio can be fed as a treat, but they are still rather poor in nutritional value. Kale is a better alternative in moderation.
Can tegus eat mushrooms?
There is an undergoing debate whether it’s okay to feed mushrooms to tegu. Technically, Argentine tegus have been observed having fungivory tendencies in the wild, and some pet owners report having fed common portobello mushrooms to their tegus without any issues. Mushrooms are however very high in phosphorus and that can lead to impaired calcium absorption and ultimately cause metabolic bone disease in large quantities. Because of this, mushrooms are generally not recommended for reptiles, and even considered toxic for some smaller species such as bearded dragons. Given that tegus are much larger in size and need a more diversified diet, they are less likely to experience problems, but mushroom consumption should still be kept to a minimum.
Can tegus eat pumpkin?
You can feed pumpkin and any kind of squash to your tegu in moderation. Make sure to cut it into pieces and remove and seeds. You may want to remove the peel as well if it’s very thick.
Can tegus eat spinach?
Spinach is not healthy for tegu lizards and it is best to feed it very occasionally or avoid feeding it altogether. Despite being a nutritious dark leaf green, spinach is loaded with oxalates – which can seriously harm or even kill your lizard in high amounts. Kale is a much better alternative which can be fed more often without issues.
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.