Argentine black and white tegu

Argentine black and white tegu

Salvator merianae

Eats

The black and white tegu's diet consists of insects, spiders, snails, fruits, seeds, small mammals, birds, and even other reptiles eggs. Tegus are known to eat eggs in the wild and have been seen disrupting many different nesting sites to feed, even those belonging to Florida alligators

Lives

Argentine tegus can be found in East and Central South America living in tropical rain forests, savannas, and semi-deserts.

Behavior

Tegus spend lots of time in underground burrows to stay protected from predators, dehydration, and extreme temperatures. The black and white tegu is able to lose it's tail as a distraction from predators, but it is very rare for them to do so as they have very few predators. They can also use their tail as a whip if threatened.

Description

The black and white tegu is the largest species of tegus. These tegus are known for their distinctive black and white coloration, with a pattern of black bands or stripes across their bodies. Characterized by their robust build, these tegus have a unique appearance with a relatively long, thick tail, and powerful legs. Male tegus have bigger jowls ("chubby cheeks") than females.  These jowls will have large jaw muscles and can be used to attract mates. Tegus have a forked tongue that helps them pick up scent particles in multiple directions in order to better identify their surroundings. They are terrestrial reptiles, spending a lot of their time on the ground, and are known to be proficient diggers.

Did you Know?

Mill Mountain Zoo is home to many animals who wouldn't survive being released into the wild or are at risk of extinction.

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Least Concern
Least Concern
Near Threatened
Near Threatened
Vulnerable
Vulnerable
Endangered
Endangered
Critically Endangered
Critically Endangered
Extinct in the Wild
Extinct in the Wild
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