Iguana Vs Tegu: 6 KEY Aspects You MUST Consider

So, you’re thinking of getting yourself your very own lizard, and the options might simply be between a Tegu and a Iguana. I really don’t blame you, they are both AMAZING lizards to own.

However, there are certain things you need to look at to make sure you make a responsible and educated decision. Worry no more as today I am going to share with you what I believe to be The Ultimate Iguana Vs Tegu Online Resource.

And as we any pet, some of the aspects we will be looking at when trying to decide between a Tegu and a Iguana are temperament, diet, cage size and overall cage setup, lifespan, and much more.

Iguana Vs Tegu

Main Topics Discussed

Difference In Cost

I always recommend that you buy your new reptile from reputable, trustworthy reptile breeders. Stay away from any large pet stores as these guys don’t have the perfect setup and environment to raise a reptile the right way. In most cases, the chances of getting a healthy, well-cared for reptile are WAY higher when buying the animal from reputable, certified reptile breeders.

Generally, Iguanas can cost anywhere between $10 to $550 depending on the type of Iguana you’d like to purchase. Generally, the less expensive Iguanas are The Green IguanasOpens in a new tab. with prices ranging from $25 to $70. The Green Iguana is one of the most common, popular Pet Iguanas, therefore they are also cheaper.

The next cheapest type of Iguana is The Red IguanaOpens in a new tab. with prices ranging from $70 to $120. The Blue IguanaOpens in a new tab. comes in next ranging in price from $150 to $250, while one of most expensive Iguanas to be kept as pets are The Rhino IguanasOpens in a new tab. with prices ranging anywhere between $400 to $600.

Tegus, however, can cost you on average around $200 to purchase. Black and White Tegus are amongst the most popular Tegus to be kept as pets but the The Red Tegu is also a popular lizard throughout the country.

CBReptile, which is a trustworthy, reputable reptile breeder in the US has available for sale all kinds of reptiles, including The Red Tegu, The White Tegu, and The Black Tegu.

The Black & White Argentine Tegus are slightly more expensive than The Red Tegus. The Black & White Argentine Tegus can cost anywhere between $250 to $550, whereas The Red Tegus are slightly cheaper with prices ranging from $200 to $300.

There’s no doubt that you can find them cheaper than that, but what I have found is that reputable breeders charge more for their reptiles because they invest a lot more money in properly caring for them so that you end up owning a happy, healthy lizard.

Difference In Size

The larger types of Iguanas can grow anywhere between 2.0 ft to 5.6 feet, or even longer. The Green Iguana being one of the largest Iguanas to be kept as pets, which can grow anywhere between 3.7 ft to 5.6 ft with male Iguanas growing larger than their female counterparts.

There are, however, smaller types of Iguanas that are kept as pets such as the Desert Iguana, The Fiji-Crested Iguana, The Spiny-Tailed Iguana, etc.

The Desert Iguana can grow to 16 inches in length, while the Fiji-Crested Iguana grows two times bigger than The Desert Iguana, usually reaching lengths of up to 30 inches.

The Spiny-Tailed Iguana is another species of Iguanas commonly kept as pets and can grow anywhere between 5 inches to as big as 40 inches.

There’s not much of a difference in size between Tegus and Iguanas. Generally, male Tegus are much larger than the females.

Expect a male Tegu to grow anywhere between 3 ft to 4.5 ft, while females grow on average up to 3 ft long top.

As you probably already figured, due to their slightly smaller size Tegus require a smaller enclosure as well, meaning they won’t take as much space as Iguana would.

Difference In Lifespan

The average lifespan of both Tegus and Iguanas mentioned in this article refer to well cared for specimens. If you want your reptile to live a long and happy life, you need to learn how to properly care of it.

Healthy Tegus can live anywhere between 15 to 20 years in the wild, whereas Healthy, Captive Tegus can live even longer than 20 years. You will have to take into consideration a Tegu’s lifespan as well as 20 years is a LOT of time to be caring for a pet.

On the flip side, captive Iguanas are known to live slightly shorter lives than Tegus. Specifically, healthy, well cared for Iguanas can live anywhere 10 to 12 years.

Difference In Diet

Iguanas are herbivorous creatures. Specifically, Iguanas are folivores, meaning their food consists of mainly leaves. In the wild, however, Iguanas eat mostly tree leaves and vines, plus some exotic flowers and fruits that are not accessible to pet Iguanas.

Tegus, on the flip side, are omnivorous animals, meaning they feed on both plants and small insects such as crickets, worms, and much more.

Tegus, especially baby and juvenile Tegus need to be fed calcium-dusted proteins to help them grow healthy and develop strong bones and a strong immune system.

While still young [until they are at least 6 inches long without the tail], Tegus need to be fed mostly calcium dusted proteins [worms, crickets, etc]. Once they get bigger in size, you can add fruits and vegetable to their diet. The downside to owning a Tegu, in my personal opinion, is that you have to feed them live food.

When referring specifically to what Iguanas and Tegus eat, I would say that this battle is won hands down by the Iguana since they are 100% herbivorous and WAY simpler to fed.

Difference In Behavior

By far the BIGGEST difference between The Tegu and The Iguana is the temperament.

The Iguana tends to be cranky, aggressive, and downright irritable. In fact, most Iguana owners don’t recommend them as pets unless you are a well seasoned reptile owners. Iguanas are not beginner friendly pet reptiles.

The Tegu, on the flip side, can be handled without any trouble. In fact, Tegus are INCREDIBLY curious and intelligent animals that make great pets for large lizard lovers.

Tegus can easily be tamed and trained if handled regularly. You will also have to learn a Tegu’s body language to learn tips and tricks on how to bond with your Tegu.

Lastly, it is well known amongst Tegu owners that these cute animals have dog-like qualities, meaning they seek companionship and are VERY loyal to their owners.

To get things even further, once fully grown you can take your Tegu for a nice leash-walk through the neighbourhood.

Difference In Cage Setup

Being larger in size than the usual pet lizard [bearded dragon, leopard gecko, etc], Tegus and Iguanas need a long enclosure that provides them with enough space to roam around and exercise.

Tegus need a big cage in order to grow healthy and live a long and happy life. An adult Tegu needs a tank that is at least 6’ by 3’ by 2.5’ with a tightly fit screen top.

Baby Tegus, however, can live in a standard 20 Gallon Tank, but once they grow bigger they need to be moved in a larger cage. I would recommend that you start with a larger cage right from the beginning and save yourself some money.

Remember that Tegus are burrowers, therefore, I do recommend that you have at least 8 inches of substrate in the enclosure. The PERFECT substrate for Tegus is one that holds humidity, and so, I recommend that you use Cyprus, which holds humidity well. DO NOT USE SAND!!! Sand can be ingested by Pet Tegus, which can lead to serious digestion issues.

The Green Iguana, which is the most popular Iguana kept as a pet, is going to require a 8 feet long, 4-6 feet deep, and 8 feet high cage.

As you can see, The Green Iguanas needs a larger enclosure than The Tegu, meaning that this is going to cost you some additional money. As a general rule, the bigger the tank, the more expensive it will be.

Probably the biggest difference between The Tegu and The Green Iguana is the height of the cage. Iguanas are arboreal species [they live in trees], meaning that a Pet Iguana needs a higher cage that will provide them to enough space to climb and exercise.

Iguana Vs Tegu: PROS For Each

Hopefully, you now have a better and more clear understanding of what are the main differences between Iguanas and Tegus in terms of diet, behavior, cage setup, cost to buy, etc. Now let’s recap what are the PROS of owning each of these two astonishing reptiles.

Iguana PROS

  • Fun to watch
  • Extremely beautiful
  • Big, strong body
  • Very Intelligent
  • Easy to feed [100% herbivorous]
  • Long lifespan


  • Very intelligent
  • Loyal to their owners
  • Like to be handled
  • Seek companionship
  • Can be tamed

Iguana Vs Tegu: CONS For Each

Ad as with any pet, there are certain things that will challenge you as a Iguana/Tegu owners. Here’s a list of CONS of owning both a Tegu and a Iguana.

Iguana CONS

  • They always seek to escape and get out
  • They are very strong, aggressive, stubborn, cranky, etc.
  • They don’t like to be handled
  • They’re not beginner friendly
  • Require a LOT of space
  • They cost a lot to keep
  • Sharp teeth and long claws
  • If they bite you, you may need stitches
  • Not good for kids
  • Unpredictable behavior


  • They’re always looking for ways to escape
  • Require a LOT of space
  • They need to be fed live food
  • If they get out, it might be difficult to put them back in the cage
  • They cost a lot to properly house and feed

Due to their size, both reptiles can give you a run for the money if they manage to escape from their cage and they don’t feel like getting back in.


Hopefully by now if you have better understanding of which pet is a better fit for you and your family. Maybe you’re looking for a large reptile and the fact that they require a lot of space and are expensive to house and feed it’s not a problem. If that’s the case, you may need to look at their behavior and make an educated decision based on that alone.

Either way, I hope that this article provided you with some useful insights and now you know what to expect in case you decide to buy each one of them.

If you have any further questions, feel free to visit my contact page and shoot me an email. I read and reply to all of them.

If you wish to explore other options, [smaller pet lizards] check out the articles linked below.


Iguana Vs Bearded Dragon: 6 KEY Aspects You MUST ConsiderOpens in a new tab.
Bearded Dragon Vs Ball Python: 6 KEY Aspects You MUST ConsiderOpens in a new tab.
Bearded Dragon Vs Chameleon: 6 KEY Aspects You MUST ConsiderOpens in a new tab.
Bearded Dragon Vs Gecko: 6 KEY Aspects You MUST ConsiderOpens in a new tab.
Bearded Dragon Vs Turtle: 6 KEY Aspects You MUST ConsiderOpens in a new tab.

Sorin Trifu

Hi & Welcome to My Blog! My name is Sorin and I'm 26 years old. I've always been a Pet LOVER and I've always enjoyed writing. I had my FIRST Pet when I was 6 years old and ever since then, I've learned a lot about Pets. I'm glad to combine my passion for PETS & WRITING and share with you ALL my knowledge about them.

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