Argentine Black and White Tegu


Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay; introduced in S.E. United States including Georgia and Florida.


Forest, Shrubland, forest clearings, edges of roads and agricultural areas.


Tegus are diurnal in the warmer months and brumate underground when it is cold. Males can be territorial. During the breeding season, both sexes use sent trailing to assess and find potential mates. Argentine black and white tegus are considered to be very intelligent.


This large lizard does not become sexually mature until around age 3. In their native habitat, reproductive activity occurs between October and December. Females may produce a clutch twice a year if conditions are right. Clutch sizes range from 12-30 eggs.

Cool Facts

This species is very adaptable. They eat a wide variety of foods and can tolerate a wide range of habitats. Tegus are capable swimmers. These characteristics have allowed them to become invasive in the Florida Everglades. When threatened, tegus will use their tail like a whip to lash predators. Tegus and monitor lizards fill a similar niche but developed on different continents, making them an example of convergent evolution.