Tegu Enclosure Size | How Big Of An Enclosure Does A Tegu Need?

What size enclosure do you need for an Argentine tegu?

Argentine tegus are large lizards that require a very large enclosure. An Argentine tegu enclosure must be large enough to roam around and have a gradient of temperature rangers. So how big does a tegu enclosure need to be? 

The minimum size a tegu enclosure needs to be is eight feet long, four feet wide, and four feet tall. Tegus need large enclosures that will likely need to be custom ordered or built.

One of the biggest ( literally ) things to consider before purchasing a tegu is how much space they require. I do not typically recommend tegus to first-time reptile owners due to their size and enclosure requirements. 

However, If you have the time, experience, money, and resources to care for a large tegu, you could have a friendly companion for many years.

Read on to learn more about your Argentine Tegu and helpful tips on setting up the perfect-sized enclosure. 

Tegu Enclosure Size: Why It Is So Important 

The size of your Tegu’s enclosure is substantial to its quality of life. If you have enough space in your home, you should get a large tegu enclosure built indoors.

If you live in an area with a warm and humid climate suitable enough for your Tegu, it would be better to create an outdoor enclosure so they have the freedom to live in a large, natural space.

An Argentine Tegu’s native environment is in savannahs, woodlands, and rainforest floors, where they have plenty of space to roam.

So, having a large enclosure to mimic this environment will make your tegu happier. If your Argentine Tegu’s tank is too small, it can cause aggression, obesity from lack of exercise, and other health issues.

If you purchase a baby tegu then it will not require as large of an enclosure at first. However, these lizards do grow pretty fast so even if you start in a smaller enclosure they will soon outgrow it.

The truth of the matter is that if you want to get an Argentine tegu you will likely need to get a cage custom-built.

Tegu Enclosure Size and Cost

Large custom-made enclosures such as ones made for Argentine Tegus can be pretty expensive. Some go for as much as one thousand dollars or more. The cost of these large enclosures doesn’t always reflect the quality.

When looking to purchase a custom-made reptile enclosure, take a look at the materials used to build it so you can reflect the price point. Some tanks are made with melamine, and others are made with glass.

Melamine is a cheaper yet more sustainable material used to make the transparent glass-like walls of reptile tanks. It is light, easy to clean, durable, and heat resistant.

It is a better alternative to glass, which is more expensive, bulky, and easy to break. Make sure the enclosure you purchase is a reasonable price for the material used to create it.

If you are crafty enough I would suggest that you build your Argentine tegus enclosure yourself. Not only will you save money, but you can also build it exactly how you want it.

Tegus Need Large Enough Enclosures To Get Daily Exersize

One of the most significant health factors for Argentine tegus is obesity. Of course, many times this is caused by overfeeding and a poor diet. However, many times the lack of exercise is one of the main reasons a tegu will become obese.

Because of this, you will want to make sure that your enclosure provides enough room for your tegu to move around freely.

Though we have already discussed the size requirements for tegu, that is just the minimum requirement. If you can afford to add a few feet to the enclosure, I recommend doing so.

In addition to cage size, make sure that your tegu gets plenty of exercise outside of its enclosure as well. That said, they will spend the majority of their time in the enclosure so you must provide enough space to move around.

Setting Up the Ideal Enclosure for Your Tegu

Creating a tank that provides your reptile’s needs and mimics their natural environment makes for a happy and healthy Argentine Tegu.

Tegu Enclosure Size

Adult male Argentine Tegus can reach up to five feet in length. Their enclosures must be large enough to comfortably house them and allow them to move around for exercise to prevent obesity.

The minimal recommended size for an Argentine Tegu’s enclosure is eight feet long, four feet wide, and four feet tall, but larger would be ideal.

Enclosure Temperature

Because Argentine Tegus are cold-blooded, their enclosures must provide both a warmer side and a cooler side so they can regulate their temperatures as needed.

A tegus enclosure size can affect the climate. For example, smaller enclosures will be hot throughout the entire enclosure and can dehydrate your  Tegu.

Keeping different temperatures throughout the tegu enclosure is just one of the reasons that they will require such large enclosures. 

You can find out more about ideal temperatures in my enclosure temperature guide or my complete Argentine tegu care guide


Humidity is an essential aspect of an Argentine Tegu’s enclosure. The humidity moistens their skin and therefore makes it easier to shed when it needs to.

Their enclosure’s humidity should reach up to eighty percent. A too-small tank can cause the environment to be too wet, creating mold and bacteria growth, causing your reptile respiratory issues.


Argentine Tegus enjoy digging, so their substrate must be in a thick layer; for adults, the substrate should reach up to eight inches deep.

The taller your enclosure is, the more room for your reptile to dig around like in its natural habitat. Having plenty of room in your enclosure for your tegu to dig will greatly improve their quality of life.

In addition, picking the correct substrate is crucial for a tegu’s health. I would suggest a blend of cypress mulch and soil. Of course, make sure you are using soil that is safe for reptiles. 

Food and Water Bowls 

Your Argentine Tegu’s tank should be big enough to fit a tip-proof food bowl and a large water bowl for your Tegu to both drink from and soak in.

You can also put a large soaking bowl and a separate, smaller water bowl instead. Fresh de-chlorinated drinking water should be renewed daily.


Argentine Tegus need a large hide to move around in as they please, so their enclosure should accommodate the space required to fit one.

Cave hides can provide cooler temperatures and a more humid atmosphere, so when your Argentine Tegu needs to cool down, it should have a personal space available to it.

Logs and Branches

Since Argentine Tegus enjoy hiding, large tree branches and hollow logs big enough for them to fit in make the perfect decoration in your reptile’s habitat.

Large tree branches that can withstand your reptile’s weight might require a larger enclosure.


Growing live vegetation in your Argentine Tegu’s enclosure can regulate oxygen levels and help keep everything at moderate humidity.

Tall, nontoxic plants require a more elevated tank, but it is best for your reptile as it gives them a more natural environment. Just make sure you are picking plants that are safe for tegu enclosures first. 

Enclosure Lighting

Another big consideration that will affect the size of a tegu enclosure is the lighting. Tegus will require not only UVB lighting but they will also require a basking spot that gets hotter than the rest of the cage.

That said, this basking spot needs to be quite hot so there needs to be enough room for a warm side and a cool side.

Place the basking spot on the warm side of the enclosure. Having enough space to get the proper lighting and be able to move around to different temperatures in their enclosure is crucial for thier well-being.


Caring for large exotic reptiles may be challenging, but the Argentine Black and White Tegu is a simple species to please with the right size enclosure. Properly caring for your companion can result in a long-living friendship.

Tegus are my top pick when it comes to large lizards. That said if you do not have space for a tegu then they are not the right choice for you at this time. 

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