Tegu Lizard

Tegu Lizard

Scientific Classification

Kingdom:   Animalia
Phylum:     Chordata
Class:      Reptilia
Order:        Squamata
Suborder:        Lacertilia
Family:     Teiidae
Genus:        Tupinambis

Tegu is from a group of lizards belonging to the Tangae family. Their native place is South America and Central America and they have diverse habitats. They are famous for their big size and for preying on others. Some of these species have gained economic importance as pets and others as food. A few species have invaded the provinces of South Florida. Even though they show a resemblance to monitor lizards, they are only distantly related. It is due to the convergent evolution that they exhibit similarity.

Tegu Lizard


Most of the species have a black background.  A few of them have bands across their back, colored white, red, or yellow. And a few have lines running down their body with unsymmetrical patterns on their body. The Tegu lizard has tiny square scales displayed in regular rings around the body. The large lizards have streamlined bodies, powerful legs, and long tails. The length of the majority of them is one meter (3 feet). Similar to other teiids, the Tegu uses its tongue and a unique organ located at the roof of its mouth called the Jacobson’s organ to detect and differentiate the chemical cues connected with their prey and other lizards.

Tegu Lizard

Natural habitat

The habitat of tegus is widespread in the Savannas, Amazon rain forests, and deciduous, partially dry thorn forests.

READ MORE:  Glass Lizard

As a Pet

Housing & Maintenance

  • As a reptile their intelligence is extremely high
  • Their full grown size is that of a puppy or a small dog. This is the time they need fondling.
  •  The Tegu eyes are big and attractive which astonishes people who were earlier scared of reptiles.The behavior of an adult Tegu depends largely  on the care and by the manner you rear them.  People who dedicate themselves  in bringing up tegus in the proper way enjoy when their  pet clings to them.
  • Quite different from a conventional pet, a pet tegu lizard can become a big problem if  an owner shirks his/her responsibility and the others in the family do not step in to care, unless  they are a wonderful and perfect family.
READ MORE:  Panther Chameleon


All the Taegu hatchlings are carnivorous; they eat nothing else but meat. Except for  rodents, you can feed all the baby Tegus sufficient food. You can feed them once weekly or twice, making sure  that  they are able to swallow without much difficulty. Captive raised roaches, super meal worms dusted with vitamin dust, mealworms, ground turkey dusted with vitamin dust, cooked eggs and  pinky mice, scrambled or hard boiled eggs. Zoo-med reptile calcium with D3 is the only reptile supplement.


Tegus need freshwater replacements daily. Besides, you would do well to make sure that their water bowls/dishes are successfully big enough for them to soak in them.


Argentine Tegu Lizard
Argentine Tegu Lizard

Even though a 20 gallon tank is sufficient for a hatchling their growth is speedy. The adult Tegu lizard needs bigger tanks. You can consider housing them  in a tank measuring  8 feet x x8 feet outdoors. Indoors, you can use a 400 gallon show tank. In case you are making your own terrarium, bear in mind that these lizards are terrestrial (ground dwelling) therefore height is not an issue, a 6’L x 3’W x 3’H is ideal.

READ MORE:  Monitor Lizard


For a Tegu Lizard to have good health and proper shedding it needs a humidity of 60% to 70%. Mist your tank daily. In case you have other ways to control humidity, then it is okay, remember not to use the tacky as substrate.


Make use of eucalyptus mulch, lizard litter, Cyprus mulch, Repti-bark or orchid bark. Keep them free of dust. In order to reduce  the dust, mist the tank, this will increase the humidity. Ensure that the substrate is not tacky that sticks to its feet.  Also make sure you feed your tegus in in an area in the terrarium where they will not accidently  gulp down the substrates, to prevent problems of intestinal blockage.


You must  provide your Tegu lizard with ultra violet light with full spectrum! These types of reptiles need light that emits UVB. An ultraviolet light provides vitamin D3 that supply calcium advances metabolism.

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