Everything You Need to Know About the Tegu

Posted by Samantha Bubar

The tegu is a large reptile native to southern South America.

With a cat-like personality and relatively attainable feeders, the tegu is a great reptilian pet for advanced reptile owners.

The tegu is active during the daytime and requires a large enclosure that will allow them to burrow and explore. They need a temperature gradient with cool and warm temperatures as well as a basking area as warm as 95 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit!

They like to submerse themselves in their water bowl and rearrange their tank. It's safe to say they can make a bit of a mess! They eat insects and fruits high in calcium, and rodents in moderation. Instead of rodents they can be fed raw ground turkey, whole eggs (with shell!) and bone meal. Adults need to be fed every 2 -3 days.

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The tegu has a thick, muscular build. Males are typically larger than females.


Ranging from 3-4 feet total, the tegu can use their long tail as a whip when threatened. If their tail gets caught or pulled, it will break off at a fracture point. The tail will re-grow but won't be identical to their original tail.


Tegus use their forked tongue to sense and "smell" their surroundings.


Their claws allow them to dig and burrow as well as to tear apart large prey.


Tegus have strong jaws and sharp teeth help them crush and subdue prey.


The tegu comes in three types, that all have different colorations: Black and White Argentine tegu, Red tegu and Black and Gold Tegu. The red tegu is the least aggressive of the three types. They have beaded skin, instead of scales.

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Everything You Need to Know About the Tegu