Tegu Facts

Tegu Facts
Tegu is a type of large lizard. There are seven species of tegus that belong to family Teiidae. They can be found in South America and southern parts of North America. Tegus can survive in various habitats: rainforests, savannas, swamps, meadows, open fields…. Different species of tegus (especially Argentine Black & White Tegu) are often kept as pets because of their friendly nature. Tegus are often hunted for their skin and meat. At the moment, number of tegus in the wild is stable and they are not listed as endangered species. If hunting and pet trade get out of control, they might become endangered in the near future.
Interesting Tegu Facts:
Tegu is a large lizard. Males are bigger than females, usually reaching 4 ½ feet in length. Females are just 3 feet long. Tegus weigh around 50 pounds.
Body of tegu is covered with beaded skin. Basic color of the skin is black with yellow dots that are stretching from its neck to the tail. Young tegus are green with black marks. Green turns into white after couple of months. Adult color develops usually after second year.
Tegu is characterized by muscular body (especially males), very short neck and forked tongue.
Tegu is an omnivore. Majority of its diet consists of plants: seeds, berries, fruit. It also eats small rodents, insects, eggs, amphibians, mollusks and birds.
Tegu is capable of destroying the beehive because it likes to eat honey.
Some tegu species are able to eat venomous snakes and frogs without visible side effects.
Tegus are known as very intelligent animals. When kept in captivity, they are able to recognize their owners and form a close bond with them. Tegu requires human love and affection. It will sometimes rather spend quality time with its owners instead to eat.
Unlike the captive tegus, wild specimens will show aggression and try to fight with any potential predators.
Main predators of tegus are: pumas, snakes and birds of prey.
Tegus are terrestrial animals (spend majority of their life on the ground), but they are excellent swimmers. They often dive and can spend up to 22 minutes under the water without returning to the surface to breathe.
Tegus are able to run on their hind feet.
Tegus in the wild hibernate from September to March. This is a natural mechanism to survive cold period of the year when food is scarce.
Before hibernation, female starts producing eggs. Two weeks after waking from hibernation, mating begins.
Female lays usually between 12 and 30 leathery eggs in the nest. Some species of tegus will hide their eggs in termite mounds, because they provide optimal temperature and moisture for development of eggs. Eggs will hatch after 45 to 60 days.
Average lifespan of tegu is between 15 and 20 years in captivity.

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