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Scientific Name: Tupinambis teguixin

Common Name: Gold Tegu


Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Repitlia

Order: Squamata

Family: Teiidae

Genus: Tupinambis

Species: T. teguixin


Tupinambis Teguixin is commonly called a gold Tegu. I don’t about you but I have never heard of a Tegu! But actually, some people keep them as pets! Gold Tegus are one of the many Tegu species. Other species of Tegu are Yellow, Rondônia, Argentine Black and White, Four-striped, and Red Tegus. But of all these many different Tegu, it is said that the Gold Tegu is the most aggressive and ornery.   


Gold Tegus are lizards that grow to be about 2-3 ft. at full growth. They have glossy scales with powerful limbs and a strong tail. Their entire body is covered with black and gold stripes, thus the name: Gold Tegu.”Tegu” is Latin for tiger, which is a good fit for this tiger-striped lizard. The average lifespan of Tegus are 10 to 15 years. They have strong and long claws also, used for burrowing. Males can be distinguished from females for the tiny spurs on either side of the males’ tails.


Tegus are found in the forests and savannas of South America. You can find them in or near a water source, usually in tropical forests. They are terrestrial animals, so that mean that they spend more time on the ground rather than the trees. They enjoy to burrow, so they great claws for doing so. Because they often live in the mountains, they adapt well for both very warm and very cold climates.


Gold Tegus are definitely not in concern for extinction. Breeding occurs after the winter brumation. The female deposits her amniotic eggs into her burrow, which is lined with leaves and straw. She then enters the burrow and usually waits there with the eggs till they hatch. What a caring mother! After about 170 days, we have new baby Tegus in our world.


In the wild, the Gold Tegu feeds on insects, small mammals, fish, and soft fruit. But as previously said, they can be kept as pets and can eat a very wide variety of foods. The Gold Tegu will eat mice, rats, birds, eggs, fruits, vegetables and canned Monitor food. I’m not sure if they would enjoy that last one as much as the other options though.


They have no real predators to speak of. What kind of animal would want to face up against a three foot long lizard with killer claws and a vicious bite? Just goes to show you, lizards are not always what they seem to be. 


By Asia B.















·         Picture:

Lizards at Trinidad's Asa Wright Nature Centre



Life Science

By Holt, Rinehart, and Winston

Contributing Authors:

Ø  Katy Z. Allen

Ø  Linda Ruth Berg, Ph.D.

Ø  Barbra Christopher...

Copyright 2007 by Holt, Rinehart, and Winston

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