When a person decides to bring a low-maintenance pet home, they usually choose a fish or hamster. When a person decides to make the commitment to an affectionate high-maintenance pet, they typically choose a dog or cat. Well, move aside cats and dogs because there’s new pets in town that can be just as affectionate: lizards.
Yes we agree that they don’t look as cute. No, they’re not as soft and cuddly. But you know what, they’re adorable in their own unique way. Take MacGyver for example, he’s a 20-pound Argentine red tengu that has won over many hearts on the Internet.
Although a giant lizard doesn’t necessarily look or do the same things a dog would, you shouldn’t rule them out as a pet so fast.
Scott and his wife Ice surely didn’t and they’ve never regretted it. And although their 20-pound Argentine red tegu doesn’t show affection the same way other pets would, they know their lizard loves them in his own unique way.
“He can go anywhere he wants pretty much in the house, but he’ll choose to come over and sleep right in front of the couch where our feet are,” Scott told.
Lizards are hugely underrated pets when it comes to love. They’re a lot more loving than you think! MacGyver might just be the most famous lizard out there as he has 33,000 subscribers on his YouTube account.
In addition to his YouTube account, MacGyver also has a Facebook page, Instagram account and even a LinkedIn page (lizards need work too).
In fact, MacGyver is so well-known that Scott and Ice prefer to have their last name private. They fear the possibility that one day one of MacGyver’s fans will try to lizard-nap him.
After all, basking in the sun from their yard is one of MacGyver’s favorite daytime activities. So it’d be easy to snatch him away if anyone ever discovered where they lived.
“Right now,” Scott explains, “he’s sitting out in the front yard basking. He’ll probably stay out there for a couple of hours. Then he’ll go to the bathroom and he’ll walk in by himself.
“He is pretty smart,” added Scott.
“He’s not a genius. He’s not quite at the TV series MacGyver level. Put it this way, he is much, much smarter than most people think that reptiles can be.”
And a lot of people tend to be misinformed when it comes to how much it takes to take care of a lizard.
“A lot of people are under the impression reptiles are really easy to care for,” Scott says. “These guys are not easy.”
“Because they get so large, it’s nearly impossible to find a prefabricated enclosure that is suitable for them for less than a couple grand,” Scott says.
“So pretty much everyone builds their own large enclosure that typically runs about $400. On top of that, they are voracious eaters, and youngsters are eating primarily meat, so food costs start to add up a lot faster than some people expect as well.”
Other than that, however, MacGyver’s most important need is pretty simple. He just needs his time in the sun.
Because lizards are cold-blooded, they need to be exposed to the sun so that their body’s temperature is regulated.
MacGyver is not Scott’s first tegu pet.
Back when he was in college, he actually owned two of them: a blue and red one. Unfortunately, when he had to move back to Shanghai, he couldn’t take them with him.
“I had to give them away to a nice reptile-loving family that lived near me, but I was totally in love with them,” he said.
It wasn’t until he moved back to the United States in 2012, did he meet MacGyver. And from then, it was history.
Tegus are compulsive eaters, they like to eat in large quantities of food.
So when the couple first got MacGyver, they tried feeding him 20 different kinds of ground meat (including quail, pheasant, duck and goose) to figure out what he liked best. It turns out the only meat he’d eat was llama.
So what’s his relationship with dogs?
“He’s not super afraid of them,” Scott said. “He won’t attack them. He’ll pretty much lay there and do his own thing and hope the dog doesn’t get up in his face.”
MacGyver is generally friendly but if a dog starts to aggravate him, he will eventually just move out of the way.
Lord have mercy on the dog who decides to get a little too close to MacGyver’s face. The lizard can easily mistaken a dog’s nose for one of his favorite dishes (he oddly enjoys grapes).
Although a lizard’s love is different, it still very much exists.
In fact, MacGyver has always effortlessly slipped into his owners’ arms, even when he was a baby.
MacGyver is a great example to the world that reptiles also have feelings and can show affection.
However, this doesn’t mean that everyone should own one as a pet as they’re incredibly difficult to care for! And when the owners give up because they’re too hard to look after, they end up getting dumped. If you’re serious about owning a pet lizard, adoption is the best way to go!