Black and white tegus are native to the tropical rainforest and forest edge grasslands of Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay. They are terrestrial, although they can climb quite well when the need arises. They prefer dense underbrush and dig large underground burrows. These burrows give the tegus a place to hide, and also help them to regulate their temperature and humidity. As cold blooded animals they rely on the environment around them to control their body temperature. Between the months of September and March the tegus will close themselves into their burrows and hibernate.
Argentine Black and White Tegu
The Argentine black and white tegu is the largest member of the tegu family of lizards. It can reach an adult length of up to 4 1/2 feet, and can weigh over 20 lbs. They have large, thick bodies, covered with beaded scales. Adult males develop large fat deposits in their jowls.
These lizards are omnivorous, and are opportunistic feeders eating everything from fruits and vegetables to insects, small mammals, and carrion. They have been known to steal bait from fishermen and beg from picnickers at parks where they are native.
Black and white tegus breed readily in captivity and have become a fairly popular pet for those who have enough room to keep them. They are extremely curious and intelligent and will actually seek out contact with their owner. They can, however become food aggressive, and must be handled carefully. With proper care they can live to be 15 - 20 year old.