How Much Does a Tegu Cost?

tegu vectorThe Argentine Red Tegu are large, predatory lizard that can grow up to five feet long and live up to 20 years in captivity.

While Tegus in the wild are a fearsome predator, in captivity, these lizards are known to become quite tame.

Some keepers describe them as “reptilian puppy dogs!” Because they can grow so large and live so long, it is important to understand that Argentine Red Tegu price is just one of many initial and ongoing care expenses you may incur.

Argentine Red Tegu Purchase Price

  • Underground Reptiles in Florida has baby (8” to 10”) farm-raised, Argentinian red Tegus for $230.
  • Snakes At Sunset offers yearling red Tegus for $230.
  • Reptile City in Texas has small/medium red Tegus for $300.
  • LLL Reptile in California has baby (10” to 12”) red Tegus for sale for $280.

Factors Affecting Argentine Red Tegu Purchase Price

Shipping – If you cannot acquire a red Tegu locally, your shipping cost will depend on the distributor you work with.

  • Underground Reptiles offers next day shipping for $39.
  • Reptile City has shipping ranging from $19.95 to $49.95.
  • LLL Reptile offers shipping for $39.95 plus $5.95 for packing/handling.

Coloration – Although all Red Tegus will display the characteristic red coloration, some Tegus have particularly intense coloration and are called “blood reds.” One adult male was priced at $400. Red Tegus from Paraguay often have a white and red pattern.

Age – Argentinian red Tegus are still considered babies when they are less than 10 inches long. Longer red Tegus are called yearlings or juveniles. For keepers who prefer a specific gender, it is usually possible to determine by the age of three years.

Gender – Female and male Tegus can look different in adulthood. Males tend to be more colorful and stockier with larger “jowls” (cheeks). They also tend to grow larger and longer than females.

Wild-caught versus farm-raised – The Argentinian Red Tegus are not currently endangered in their wild habitat. However, there is a much better opportunity to tame your Red Tegu when purchasing a farm-bred baby or juvenile and this is also better for wild ecosystems.

Adoption is also a good choice if the opportunity arises.

tegu lizard near iguazu falls

One-Time Argentine Red Tegu Costs

  • Habitat

A young red Tegu can make do with a 40-gallon terrarium like the SeaClear 40-gallon Acrylic Aquarium Combo Set which cost anywhere between $200 and $300, depending on the promo. But after the first 12 months, you will need to provide much roomier accommodation.

Veterinarians recommend building your own custom habitat that is at least 8 feet long by 4 feet wide by 3 feet high with a secure closure as Tegus are great escape artists.

  • Humidity

Tegus need a 60 to 80 percent humidity range to stay healthy. The Exo Terra Monsoon Solo High Pressure Misting System which costs around $100 is a good choice.

  • Hides

Red Tegus like to hide. This Exo Terra Reptile Cave (XL) can work for over $10, as can the Zoo Med Habba Hut (Giant) for around $16.

  • Heat

A ceramic heat lamp like Simple Deluxe 150W Infrared Ceramic Heat Emitter Reptile Heat Lamp Bulb ($10) or radiant heat pad like the Zoo Med Repti Therm Under Tank Heater ($15) can keep one side of the habitat warmer.

  • Food and water dishes

A 7.5 inch ceramic or stoneware ($9 per dish) is a good choice for food and water dishes.

  • Soaking/swimming bowl

Red Tegus enjoy bathing and they also like to swim. Larger version of the stoneware dish (9.5-inch) is suitable for smaller Tegus and costs around $11.

Ongoing Argentine Red Tegu Costs

Food – Gut-loaded insects (crickets, mealworms, superworms), frozen rodents, lean raw or cooked meats, cooked eggs plus vegetables and fruits make a great red Tegu diet.

  • Superworms cost $20 and up (500 ct)
  • Adult live crickets (1000 ct) start at $40.
  • Frozen pinkie mice (10 ct) cost around $7.

Supplements – Calcium powder with D3 is important to help your red Tegu build health, strong bones. Zoo Med Repti Calcium is around $4 for 3-oz jar.

Substrate – Tegus are a burrowing reptile and need thick (2+ feet deep) substrate to fulfill this need. The following items all mixed together is recommended.

  • Cypress mulch 8-qt pack (around $7)
  • Coconut coir 3 brick value pack ($6)
  • Play sand 10-lb pack ($12 – $15)

Lighting – Access to UV-B spectrum light is vital for your Tegu’s health and growth. The Zoo Med PowerSun UV for around $50 is a popular choice – it needs to be replaced every six months.

Enrichment – Red Tegus are known to be particularly intelligent. They appreciate food-foraging and play activities using puzzle feeders ($10 – $15) and cat tunnels ($13 – $15).

Veterinary – Expect to spend $20 to $80 per exam plus the same for health tests.

 
Megan Kriss

Megan currently lives in Georgia with her husband, Matthew, their Border Collie, and Chow Chow mix, Ginger, and their two cats, a tabby named Pepper and a Birman named Misha, though she’s always hoping to add more animals.

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