• The Road To Rescue

Argentine Black and White Tegu

Updated: Oct 19, 2020

Today we will be talking about the tegu lizard, a large lizard that is commonly kept as a pet. The tegu is a highly intelligent lizard, "they are notable for their unusually high intelligence and can also be house-broken." Male tegus can grow up to 4.5 ft long and females can grow to be over 2.5 ft. Tegu lizards have beautiful colors and pattern variations, "their coloration varies based on their age, but they are generally mottled black and white with varying amounts of other colors." The tegu lizard has a large head and huge cheeks, giving them the appearance of being chubby. Tegus generally walk on 4 feet but when they are being threatened can stand and run on their hind legs to look more frightening.


Tegus can live up to 20 years! When they have bonded with someone, they will be your BFF for life. However, socializing is very important. If you don't socialize with your tegu or handle it properly, it can become aggressive. Tegus are still wild animals and even though they are bred in captivity, you can't take the wild instincts out of them.


In the wild, Argentina black and white tegus are found in a couple of countries in South America; Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, and Paraguay. They live in a small variety of environments such as, "tropical rain forests, woodlands, savannas, semi-deserts and in agricultural areas." Tegus like to live alone and they are diurnal. They love the sun and spend most of their day basking in the sunlight. While tegus are not venomous, they do carry a powerful bite. When attacked, a tegu can drop a section of its tail as a distraction. The tail is just one of the features the tegu has as a defense; "even a half-hearted swipe can leave a bruise." A young ABWT (Argentine black and white tegu) has a diet of insects, spiders, snails, fruits, and seeds, while an adult will feast more on, "eggs from other reptiles and from birds' nests and will eat small birds, vertebrates, insects and wild fruits."


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