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Red Tegu: here’s the scoop


There is a limited amount of data available on this species, but historically they have been hunted for their skin.

Committed to Conservation

Our tegus, Roosevelt and Frankie, are important members of the Zoo’s Animal Ambassador Program and currently live behind-the-scenes. You may see them out with educators for encounters, special events or school programs. The animal ambassadors at Buttonwood Park Zoo are working ambassadors of their species and of their wild counterparts.  They stimulate interest and appreciation, dispel myths and fears, reconnect visitors with the natural world and stir all those they encounter to action.


Red Tegu

Scientific name

Tupinambis rufescens


Arid semi-desert, grasslands, light woods and open fields


Omnivorous. Feeding on fruits, vegetables, insects, rodents, birds, eggs and fish

Life Expectancy

15 – 20 years

Did you know?

Tegus are popular in the pet trade and are often bought when they are very young and small, but they can grow up to four feet long. Often times owners will give away or even release them when they grow too large or they are no longer wanted. Not only does this pose a significant threat to native species, but it could be lethal to the individual. In fact, the Zoo’s red tegu was found wandering the streets of Falmouth before finding his forever home here at the Zoo. Our Educators share his story in order to promote responsible pet ownership.


Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Paraguay

Conservation status

Not Evaluated by IUCN