10 Facts About the Argentine Black & White Tegu

Here’s a listing of the top 10 facts about the Argentine Black & White tegu, one of our favorite species of reptile. Backwater Reptiles just received a shipment of adorable hatchling Argentine black and white tegus. The little guys were so tame and we really enjoyed playing with them during our photo shoot, so naturally we wanted to shine the spotlight on these great little lizards. Read on to learn some facts about the Argentine black and white tegu.

1. The Argentine black and white tegu reaches a moderately large size. Adult males can exceed four feet in length and females will be slightly smaller, usually around three and a half feet in length. Hatchlings are generally not longer than eight inches.

argentine tegu facts
This hatchling tegu is in his “trailer” preparing for his photo shoot. What a diva. đŸ™‚

2. Tegus make great pets for people prepared to keep a lizard of their size. They become tame and don’t mind being handled and their personalities are often likened to that of a cat.

3. Due to their size at adulthood, Argentine tegus will require a large enclosure. The more walking space they have, the better. Adult males should have enclosures that are no smaller than six feet long by two feet high.

Argentine Black & White Tegu

4. Argentine black and white tegus can be housed together, provided you have a space large enough for them. They will need to be monitored closely however as breeding aggression can occur during their mating season.

5. These tegus need a daytime ambient temperature of 80 to 90 degrees to thrive. Night time temps can be anywhere from five to ten degrees cooler. They will also require a full spectrum UV light basking source in captivity, despite the fact that they burrow often.

tupinambis merianae tegu

6. Due to their burrowing habits, Argentine tegus should have a substrate in their enclosure that supports this habit. Coconut husks, orchid bark, and cypress mulch are all acceptable options.

7. Argentine black and white tegus are interior designers – they tend to rearrange the furniture in their enclosures to their liking, so it’s generally wiser to keep fewer decorative items (plants, large rocks, etc) in their homes. This will ensure they don’t harm themselves while burrowing underneath or pushing these items around the cage.

8. These tegus are omnivores and will eat lots of different types of food. Their staples are generally insects and protein items, but they should be offered fruit from time to time. Some tegus will enjoy the fruit while others will ignore it, but either way, variety in their diet is important.

9. Argentine tegus rarely bite, but hatchlings can be squirrelly and squirmy! Make sure to handle yours frequently to get it used to you. Be sure to never offer food with your hands as this could lead to improper association between food and your hand and therefore unintentional biting and aggression.

pet tegu facts
Handling one of our captive bred baby Argentine Black & White tegus.

10. It’s not unheard of for this species of tegu to live beyond fifteen years provided they are given proper care.

Backwater Reptiles has hatchling Argentine black and white tegus for sale.