Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Argentine Black and White Tegu

The Argentine black and white tegu, Tupinambis merianae, is the largest lizard on best pet list. It is important to note that adult tegus require more space than the average owner is willing to provide, but if that isn't an issue for you then a tegu might be a great choice as a pet lizard.

Tegus are one of the smartest reptiles, able to learn simple tricks and to respond to the sound of their names. Typically calm, tegus properly socialized from a young age can learn to walk on a harness and be handled with great frequency.

It should be noted that there are multiple tegu species; Columbian tegus are NOT recommended as a good pet lizard. These black and white cousins are often aggressive and difficult to care for.

Scientific name : Tupinambis merianae

Common name : Argentine Black and White Tegu

Housing Size : 6 feet x 3 feet x 2 feet

Housing Type : Tropical rain forests

Adult Size : Up to 4 feet

Level Of Difficulty : Easy to moderate

Life Span : Up to 10 - 15 years

Diet : Omnivorous


Due to their large size, Argentinian black and white tegus need a large secure enclosure. Juveniles can be kept in a large aquarium with a locking lid, but adults will need a larger specialty or custom built cage. For adults, plan on at least 6 feet by 3 feet by 2 feet tall (tall cages not necessary for tegus). A hide should be provided at either end of the temperature gradient, and keeping the hide slightly damp can help with shedding.


Tegus like to burrow, and need a substrate that is absorbent and easy to clean. Cypress mulch, orchid bark or eucalyptus mulch are the preferred substrates, although some people prefer the convenience of several layers of paper (although this prevents the natural instinct to dig). Avoid wood chips, corn cob or gravel due to the risk of ingestion. Indoor/outdoor carpeting is likely to get shredded in digging attempts and the stray threads can pose a risk of entangling nails/toes.

Size and Appearance

The Argentinian black and white tegu can reach an adult size of 4 feet or even longer (including the tail). They have a fairly distinctive pattern of white and black dots and stripes over the entire body.


Juvenile tegus can be fed a diet largely composed of crickets (dusted with a calcium/vitamin supplement) along with some other feeder insects for variety. As they get older the can be fed pinky mice, and eventually adult mice (frozen, prekilled). Adult argentinian black and white tegus can have a variety of fruits and vegetables added to their diet. Canned dog food and eggs can also be offered as an occasional supplement. Feed in a bowl or with tongs to prevent accidentally getting bitten.


Argentinian black and white tegus enjoy soaking, so provide a large shallow water dish. Provide fresh water frequently.

Light and Heat

Argentinian black and white tegus are diurnal and need exposure to full spectrum UVA and UVB lighting. While it is true that tegus can tolerate cooler temperatures, for proper health and digestion, daytime temperatures should be maintained at 80-85 F (27-30 C) with a basking spot at 100-110 F (38-43 C). Cooler nightime temperatures are fine. Use lamps and heat mats, and avoid hot rocks.


Despite its large size, the Argentinian black and white tegu enjoys a reputation as being quite docile and tame (much more so than other tegus). This is especially true of those that are handled regularly from a young age.

Article source :

No comments:

Post a Comment