Argentine Black and White Tegu


Argentine Black and White Tegu

Place of Birth:

SOUTH AMERICA: The black and white Tegu is native to the southern cone of South America. Specifically Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Argentina.

Eating Habits:

Tegu’s are omnivores and consume plants and fruits as well as bugs, snails and small animals. Their diet changes from mostly plant to mostly animal as they mature. Tegus are predators and forage for food in both terrestrial and aquatic habitats.

Quick Facts:

Scientific  Name Tupinambis merianae
Size The Argentinian black and white tegu can reach an adult size of 4 feet and approximately 15 lbs.
Color Starts as a brilliant green color which gradually fades to tones of black and white as they mature.
Lifespan Up to 20 years in the wild. They are fully mature at 3 years.
Eco Status Least Concern – The population is stable.


Tegus live in a wide variety of habitats, including the Amazon Rainforest, savannas, and deciduous, semiarid thorn forests.

Animal’s Behaviour

The Argentine Tegu is a large stocky lizard with a large head and a short thick neck. They have sharp teeth and strong jaws which they use to chew through tough meat as well as defend themselves. They have long forked tongues that they use to smell and a thick skin with beaded scales and two rows of yellow dots running down their back. Tegus are among the most intelligent and highly adaptive of all living lizards. Although they are terrestrial animals, they are very capable swimmers, able to remain submerged for up to 22 minutes. Like many reptiles, they are primarily active during the day and burrow or hide at night. Tegus spend the colder months of the year in their burrow in brumation. During brumation Tegus will wake up to eat, drink and use the bathroom but will sleep for very long periods. Unlike other lizards Tegus will build nests of wood, straw and leaves to hold their eggs and will guard them until hatched. Tegus will lay large clutches of up to 30 eggs.