The Golden tegu is not as large is its southern relatives, but in some ways does not make a better a better pet for it. It can be a little more unpredictable and more difficult to handle then the Red tegu, or the Black and White. The fill grown size of the Golden tegu is around 60-90cm and is a very impressive lizard. They are stocky, powerful and have claws and jaws that can tear flesh easily. This species naturally occurs throughout the topical forests of northern and central South America.
A large sturdy vivarium will be required for this species. A vivarium constructed of melamine faced chipboard is not recommended – they damp conditions required means the longevity will be short and also this means escapes are easy for a species with such powerful claws. For an adult they will require a very large vivarium, and absolute minimum would be 2m in length, 1m tall – but much bigger is recommended. Sturdy construction is a must, and all heating and lighting must be firmly fixed and completely guarded from the animal – this is for safety to the animal, but also to minimise the fire risk with such powerful lizards.
Provide a habitat of a mildly damp substrate such as orchid bark, plenty of hides and climbing branches. A large water bowl will provide bathing and drinking.
Lighting needs to be a reasonably powerful UVB light, we would recommend a 10-12% T5 fluorescent tube. Heating needs to provide a daytime basking temperature of around 32-34C, dropping to around 26C at night. Some keepers use ceramic heaters, others prefer incandescent bulbs or halogens.
Food while young needs to be a mix of baby mice and a wide variety of insects. Adults will mainly eat rodents. Be careful as adults, do not feed too often – this species is frequently seen as obese in captivity.
A final note; please give careful thought before committing to this species, they will need a large vivarium, and can be a handful, especially as youngsters and sub-adults.