Argentine black and white tegu description
Argentine black and white tegu black and white tegus are large lizards that can reach nearly five feet in length. They have a mottled black and white coloration that often is arranged into a banding pattern across the back and tail. Hatchlings display similar markings, but typically have bright green heads. The green coloration fades after they reach about one month of age. In both its native and introduced range, the Argentine black and white tegu is found in savannas and disturbed habitats such as forest clearings, roadsides and fence rows. They are terrestrial lizards that rarely climb more than a few feet off the ground, but they are strong swimmers. Tegus can tolerate marine and freshwater habitats, such as flooded marshes. During winter months, tegus retreat into burrows while they undergo a hibernation-like period known as brumation. In south Florida, they typically begin to emerge from their burrows in February. Tegu breeding in Florida begins in early spring. Female tegus reach reproductive maturity after their second year of brumation or when they are about 12 inches long from the tip of the nose to the base of the tail. They lay an average of 35 eggs per year. Females construct nests of dried vegetation, often at the base of trees, in clumps of tall grass or in burrows. Eggs incubate for approximately 60 days and require stable temperatures for successful hatching. After hatching, juvenile tegus grow quickly. Tegus may live up to 20 years.
Tegus have an omnivorous diet and consume fruits, eggs, insects, and small animals including reptiles and rodents. They are efficient egg predators that will consume the eggs of ground-nesting birds and reptiles. They may also consume pet food that has been left outdoors. Tegus are known egg-eaters and in Florida, they have been documented consuming American alligator eggs. They may also impact other ground-nesting native wildlife such as the gopher tortoise, American crocodile, sea turtles and ground-nesting birds. Tegus have also consumed gopher tortoise hatchlings in Florida.
Specie; Argentine black and white tegu
Age; 29 months
Preferred Diet; Fruits, eggs, insects, and small animals including reptiles and rodents