Argentine black and white tegu

A popular pet in the United States, but it is also considered an invasive species in Florida

Tomfriedel

A large, intelligent lizard that is native to South America. Known for its striking appearance and impressive adaptability, this tegu is a popular pet in the United States. 

The Argentine black and white tegu is one of the largest species of tegus. Some individuals can grow even longer, with exceptional specimens reaching up to 5 feet. These lizards have a robust, muscular build, with a broad head and powerful limbs. As their name suggests, Argentine black and white tegus have a distinctive black and white pattern across their bodies. Their skin is covered in small, bead-like scales that give them a rough texture. The pattern can vary, with some individuals having more pronounced black bands while others have a more speckled appearance. Juveniles often have bright green heads that fade to black as they mature.

In the wild, Argentine black and white tegus are found in a variety of habitats, including forests, savannas, and grasslands. They are native to countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay. These lizards are highly adaptable and can thrive in diverse environments, from humid rainforests to arid scrublands. They are excellent diggers and will create burrows for shelter, which they use to escape extreme temperatures and predators.

In captivity, it is important to provide a balanced diet to keep them healthy. A mix of fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and insects is recommended. Tegus have strong jaws and sharp teeth, allowing them to efficiently process a wide variety of foods.

Distribution

Country
Population est.
Status
Year
Comments
Argentina
2014
Bolivia
2014
Brazil
2014
Paraguay
2014

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Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic (size) / Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No