Scientific Name: Salvator merianae
Squamata (amphisbaenas, lizards and snakes)


Habitat & Range
The Argentine tegu inhabits the savannahs and tropical rain forests of east and central South America.

Also known as the “Argentine giant,” it is the largest species of tegu. When born, the tegu has beaded skin, linear stripes running down its body, and an emerald green complexion. The green fades to black within a couple of months after the first shedding. Males can grow up to 4.5 feet in length, while the females typically reach a length of 3 feet.

Tegus are omnivorous reptiles that will eat meat, fruit and vegetables.

Reproduction & Lifespan
Mating season takes place in the spring just after tegus emerge from hibernation. Female tegus are very territorial and will guard their nests until their eggs hatch. Clutches can range in size from 10 to 70 eggs, but a size of 30 eggs is most common.

Tegus can easily live 15 to 20 years in the wild, and possibly even longer in captivity.

Fantastic Fact
Man’s Best Friend
Tegus have been known to possess unusually high levels of intelligence for reptiles. It is believed that like dogs, pet tegus will sometimes seek the attention of their human keepers.

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