The Argentine tegu, also known as the black-and-white tegu, is the largest of the tegu lizards. Young tegus have an emerald green colour from the snout to their back while the rest of the body is black and white. As they grow older, the green colour fades, and the entire body becomes black and white. Males are significantly larger and can grow to between 1.2m – 1.35m length while the females grow to just over 1m. They have strong claws for digging out food and burrowing while the strong jaws and sharp teeth allow them to chew meat with ease. When threatened, the tegu swings its tail aggressively and releases it at the fracture point when grabbed by the predator.
The Argentine tegu inhabits the forests of Paraguay, Argentina, Brazil, and Bolivia. They are adaptive animals that can also be found along the edges of forests and savannas as long as they can access food and water. Some of the tegus that had been kept as pets have been released in the wild where they continue to grow in number.
The Argentine black-and-white tegu is an omnivorous reptile that feeds on a diverse range of invertebrates including spiders, insects, and snails. As it gets older, it seeks out food with more proteins including seeds, eggs, and fruits.
Mating takes place immediately after coming out from hibernation as the males begin to find out for females for mating. During this time, the male marks his brooding grounds and starts its attempts to win over a female of its choice and begin mating. After copulation, the females begin to build nests within around ten days. As the female is done with building a nest, it lays eggs after about a week. The female lays around 30 or more eggs at a time and is highly protective of them. After the young ones hatch out, the mother would keep an eye to keep the baby tegus protected until they grow up enough to fend themselves. The juveniles grow up very quickly.