The Argentine black and white tegu is native to South America where it can be found in Brazil, Paraguay, eastern Uruguay and northern Argentina.
Argentine black and white tegus are invasive to Florida.
Argentine black and white tegus can reach lengths of about 5 feet (1.5 meters).
Argentine black and white tegus are large lizards that can reach five feet in length. They have a black and white coloration that is arranged into a banding pattern across the back and tail. Hatchlings display similar markings, but typically have bright green heads. The green coloration fades after they reach about one month of age.
In both its native and introduced range, the Argentine black and white tegu is found in savannas and disturbed habitats such as forest clearings, roadsides and fence rows. They are terrestrial lizards that rarely climb more than a few feet off the ground, but they are strong swimmers. Tegus can tolerate marine and freshwater habitats, such as flooded marshes.
During winter months, tegus retreat into burrows while they undergo a hibernation-like period known as brumation.
Argentine black and white tegus are omnivorous. Juveniles in the wild consume a wide range of invertebrates, including insects, spiders, and snails. They also eat fruits and seeds. As they grow they become more predatory. They may seek out eggs from other reptiles and from birds' nests and will eat small birds, vertebrates, insects and wild fruits.
Argentine black and white tegus can live for 15 to 20 years in the wild, and possibly even longer in captivity.