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Gold Tegu

Tupinambis teguixin
Family: Teiidae
Adult Size: 1½ to 3½ feet

Northern South America

Habitat: Open areas bordering forests and secondary growth near agriculture.
Captive Lifespan: 12 to 20 Years
Care Level: Advanced


These hardy beasts are very indiscriminate in their choice of foods that lean heavily towards small animals they can overpower. Common tegus are ruthless predators that chase down their prey, grasp it in dagger-like teeth and formidable jaws.

Common tegus emerge from burrows and warm themselves each morning before prowling their environment for food. A cage 4 feet long and 2 feet wide should create a suitable home. Decorate it with large rocks and logs that are too heavy for these active tegus to rearrange as they explore them for hidden prey items. A shelter of stone or wood should be added as a nighttime retreat.

Common tegus are quick to pounce on small, moving objects and are known for sometimes confusing fingers for potential snacks. New imports or nervous specimens will occasionally bite, scratch, and lash out with their tail, like a giant bullwhip. Well-fed, older common tegu specimens typically become very heavy-bodied and lethargic, thus much more manageable.