Argentine tag: content and care


The Argentine black and white tag (Tupinambis merianae) is a large lizard (130 cm, but maybe more), belonging to the family Teiidae. It lives in South America, mainly in Argentina, but also in Uruguay and Brazil. Occurs in a variety of areas, but mainly in the meadows near the streams and in the dense jungle. Life expectancy from 12 to 20 years.


Black and white tag is powerful predators that live in burrows and are active during the day. The Argentine tagu are activated at dawn and begin to survey their territory in search of food. They feed on small animals that are able to catch up. Larger, they tear apart, and small swallow whole.

In captivity, the main food can be rodents. Raw eggs, chickens, locusts, large cockroaches should be part of the diet. Take care of your fingers during feeding, as the Argentine tag is very fast and instantly attacks the prey. And you will not like their bite. Totally. However, at other times they are quite peaceful and can become a pet, as they easily get used to the owner. True,
For the content you need a very spacious terrarium or even a whole corral, as they like to climb and dig the ground. The fact is that in the winter months in nature, they often fall into a stupor, before that, hiding in a deep norm. At this time, they are inhibited and completely refuse feed.


Females lay between 12 and 30 eggs, which are very jealous. The hatching babies have a tag with a finger thickness and a length of up to 20 cm. They are bright green in color, but as they grow older it becomes paler and matured becomes black and white. As a rule, in captivity the Argentine tag is rarely bred, individuals coming to the market are caught in captivity.

What does the Argentinean tag look like?

Tagu - lizards are large with a body length of more than a meter. In natural conditions, there are even two-meter specimens! Males are larger and more powerful than females. Weigh adults tag 7-8 kg. The body of the lizard is flattened, short and strong legs are well adapted for digging short and strong (by the way, they love to dig). By the name of the animal it is easy to guess that its color is black and white - alternating transverse stripes run all over the body ..

Of course, not everyone has the opportunity to keep a half-meter dinosaur in his house, and not everyone will decide on this. But if there is a desire and opportunity, you will get a wonderful - rare and unusual pet, who with good care and caring attitude can live next to you for more than 15 years.

Content terms Argentine tag

For the content of the Argentine tag, first of all, you need a large and very durable terrarium. The minimum size of a dwelling for a single adult reptile is 250x90 × 90 cm, and for a couple of animals it is 250 × 120x120 cm. It is worth saying that the larger the terrarium is, the more comfortable your pets will be. On top of the terrarium should be closed with a grid - tag easily overcome all obstacles.

Humidity in the terrarium should be maintained at 60-70%.

The bottom of the terrarium must be covered with a deep layer of substrate. As such, a mixture of soil and sawdust is suitable - such a material retains moisture well. Once or twice a day, the litter should be sprayed with warm water, but not creating a “swamp”, and so that it is slightly damp.

A decor can serve several large koryag and stones. Both living and artificial plants will not work - they will simply be immediately destroyed by the reptile. If the substrate layer is deep enough and your pet can make a hole in it, a shelter house is not needed. Otherwise, care should be taken of the asylum.

Feeding trough and drinker should be made of durable material and not overturn.

For a baby, the tag needs to provide a substrate depth of 7-10 cm, the teenager will need 20-25 cm, and for an adult animal, the layer of litter can be up to 50 cm.

For tag it is necessary to ensure the temperature difference in the terrarium. In the warm part of the terrarium should be about 30 ° C, in the cold - 24-25 ° C. Remember that this is the temperature of the surface, not the air, so you need an infrared thermometer. The night temperature should stay at about 24 ° C and never fall below 18 ° C - otherwise the thermophilic reptile may catch a cold. The best solution would be to install several lamps of low power - it is easier to achieve the indicated temperatures.

To provide the animal with ultraviolet light, it is recommended to use a large tube lamp UV 10.0. An alternative is to use a mercury UV lamp instead of one of the heat lamps.

The tag likes to lie in the water - for taking baths your pet will need a pool of such size that the lizard fits in it entirely. Water in the pool should always be fresh.


Habitat occupies a significant area of ​​South America. The species is distributed in Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil and Bolivia. The most numerous is the Argentine population.

Red tags are adapted for existence in various biotopes. Most often they are found in tropical rain forests, bush savannas and open grassy landscapes. These reptiles feel most comfortable in the undergrowths that form a thick canopy.

The lizard is active day living. It awakens at sunrise, leaves the shelter under the stones or roots of trees, showing activity before dusk. After waking up, she takes about sunbathing for about half an hour to warm up and improve metabolism.

Adult individuals to eat various ripe fruits. Young lizards feed on insects, and as they mature, they move to larger prey, eating amphibians, small reptiles and mammals. They grab a large victim with their teeth and shake it until it dies, and then tear it up into pieces that are easy to swallow. Small prey swallowed whole.

The tag does not disdain carrion and willingly eat it. When the opportunity arises, they will not miss the opportunity to destroy the bird's nest and feast on eggs or hatched chicks.

In case of danger the animal strains the body and inflates the throat, making characteristic hissing sounds. The final warning is the rhythmic swaying of the tail. If this does not deter the aggressor, then there should be an instant throw, followed by a strong bite.

In some regions, the tag goes into hibernation, lasting from 2 to 4 months.


Argentine tagu - relatively large-sized lizards. The average length of an adult male is one and a half meters, and the females - about 110-120 cm. Quite often there are individuals of this species, whose length exceeds the average size. To date, a representative of the Teyida family has been officially registered, whose length was 195 cm.

It is interesting! Despite the fact that most species have a smooth skin tag, Argentine tupina bambu have a kind of lumpy scales, resembling a gad-tooth.

The average weight of an adult Argentine tag is 7-8 kg. The lizard has a striped color, in which white and black transverse stripes run along the surface of the whole body. The male of this species differs from the female in a wider and more developed body, with a large head and also rather massive jaws.

Lifestyle and behavior

In their natural habitat, representatives of the Teyida family inhabit clay, as well as sandy areas with dense shrub vegetation. As the main refuge of the reptile are used burrows, which are left by other animals, including the armadillo. Sometimes the Argentinean tag independently tears mink, using for this purpose the areas near the roots of trees.

Black and white tagu - terrestrial reptiles, but rather well floating and freely immersed in fresh water. Saltwater is suitable for a short dive of a lizard. Arid and hot daytime hours are trying to spend the tag in a deep hole. The main activity of reptiles is in the morning and evening hours, when reptiles are actively digging the ground and climbing over the bark. An adult individual can overcome obstacles in sizes up to one meter.

In winter, representatives of the species Tupinambis meriana are characterized by hibernation, into which the animals fall during the low-temperature regime. The duration of such hibernation is four to five months and, as a rule, falls on the period from April to September. During hibernation, a large reptile is able to lose up to a tenth of its weight.

Buying Argentinean tag

Purchase Argentine tag is best in specialized stores or from experienced breeders. It is important to remember that the cost of such an exotic pet is quite high, so it is absolutely impossible to buy a reptile at a purely symbolic price. Most likely, such an animal will be sick or too old. Before you buy, you need to find out the conditions of the Argentine tag, as well as the genetics of the parent couple, which was used in obtaining offspring. Experts recommend to take care of the guarantee for the return of reptiles in the event of the discovery of such an animal after the purchase of any incurable infections.

It is interesting! On examination, the Argentinean tag may exhibit increased activity and even some aggression, which is explained by the stress of the animal when strangers and strangers appear.

The reptile should be carefully inspected in the presence of the seller. A visual inspection of the lizard checks the tail and legs, which should not be damaged. You also need to examine the eyelids of the reptile. A completely healthy tag should not have dried skin or lesions on the eyelids. There are no wounds, abrasions, scratches or scratches on the animal's body.

Device terrarium filling

The Argentinean tagu is a fairly large lizard, but the youngest individuals may well be kept in terrariums with dimensions of 120x120x90 cm. Standard terrariums for an adult reptile have dimensions of 240x120x90 cm.

A significant part of the owners of such home exotic animals make terrariums on their own, which is very economical and practical, and also allows you to get a stylish and original home for a reptile. As a rule, laminated wood is used for production, and a perforated plate in the upper part of the terrarium is provided to ensure adequate ventilation.

Important! If in the conditions of one terrarium it is planned to contain a group of reptiles, then the size of the dwelling should be increased for each subsequent pet by approximately 50-60%.

Currently, there are a variety of materials used as a filler for tertiary oeptily. As a substrate can be used environmentally friendly soils, mixtures based on sand and soil, as well as bark for growing orchids. Experienced tag owners often use moisture retaining mulch to fill a terrarium.

Diet, diet

Black and white tags are categorized as omnivorous lizards, but when kept at home such exotic pets can become “fascinating” in terms of food. “Live” prey is preferable when choosing food, therefore it is best to use insects in the form of crickets, meal starch and zofobasa.

Sometimes the basic ration can be varied by small rodents, but such fatty and difficult to digest food should be used rarely. Plant foods can be represented by tomatoes, cabbage, pears, bananas and melons.

Weekly diet of argentinian tag:

  • 75% are live insects,
  • 20% - food of plant origin with calcium supplements,
  • 5% - rodents.

Teenage diet can be supplemented with chilled meat. Young animals should be fed daily, and adults every three to four days. The basic diet of the tag should be supplemented with ingredients containing calcium. You can use a well-crushed eggshell, bone meal and balanced vitamin supplements.

Care for argentinian tag

Proper temperature conditions and high-quality lighting are very important for maintaining the health of the domestic reptile, so the conditions in the terrarium should be similar to wildlife. The temperature of the surfaces in the warm part of the terrarium should be 29-32 o C, and in the cold - 24-26 o C. To control the temperature mode, infrared thermometers are used. Nighttime temperatures should be maintained at a level of 22–24 ° C. Optimal humidity indicators are in the range of 60–70%.

Under natural conditions, long-lasting natural unfiltered sunlight allows the Argentinean tag to independently synthesize a sufficient amount of vitamin D3, and in captivity, special UV lamps in the form of fluorescent tubes with a reflective body are used for this purpose. The use of mercury UV lamps allows you to provide the desired amount of UV light and heat. It should be noted that in the process of long-term operation the level of the emitted ultraviolet decreases, therefore, the dumps are subject to periodic replacement.

Health, Disease and Prevention

Argentine tegu is prone to diseases that are characteristic of any lizards, so these reptiles suffer from pathologies presented:

  • avitaminosis,
  • acarosis
  • ticks,
  • amebiasis
  • coccidiosis
  • ringworm,
  • molting disorders,
  • dermatitis,
  • osteoporosis
  • ulcerative stomatitis.

For the treatment of frequent dermatitis, reptile skin is oiled with neomycin or clotrimazole. The development of osteoporosis in the Argentinean tag provokes an insufficient amount of ultraviolet rays or vitamins, as well as an imbalance in the diet. Literate preventive measures minimize the appearance of complex diseases in reptiles.

Argentine tag cost

A reptile of the species Tupinambis merianae with a body length of 15-18 cm costs approximately 39-41 thousand rubles. An individual with a body length of a quarter meter will cost 45-47 thousand rubles.

It will also be interesting:

The price of a horizontal type terrarium with dimensions of 200x100x100 cm, having flow-through ventilation and made of high-quality glass with a thickness of 0.5 cm is about fifteen to twenty thousand rubles.

Owner reviews

According to experts, as well as those who have long been actively involved in breeding the Argentine tagu, the reptile of this species is completely tamed.. After acquiring home exotics, it is necessary to give it about two to three weeks to adapt in a new and unusual environment.

Important! Such a reptile should not be disturbed for no reason. Also, it is strictly not recommended to take a pet in your arms for the first time. The lizard, which is not used to such treatment, is under severe stress and is also able to bite or scratch its host.

After the domestic reptile adapts and stops using the shelter at the sight of a person, you can start using tweezers to give food and occasionally touch the pet's head with your hand. It is categorically impossible to force events when taming an exotic lizard, and with such simple recommendations and sufficient patience on the part of the owner, the domestic reptile eventually starts to treat the person quite tolerantly.

Of course, not every fan of exotic pets has the ability to maintain a one and a half meter reptile, so these lizards are most often purchased by owners of spacious private houses.


In the first place for the pet you need to equip a comfortable home. You will need a strong and durable terrarium, while being quite spacious and designed for the final size of a lizard when it grows up. The tag is very good for climbing, jumping and can overcome barriers in height of 90 centimeters in adulthood. Care must be taken that the lizard itself could not get out of the terrarium.

If the tag is purchased fry, you should not equip for a not too small vivarium. Lizards grow rapidly and in two or three months they will have to buy a new one. It is better to buy a wooden vivarium for the beginning with dimensions of 90 by 60 by 60 or 120 by 60 by 60. In such a vivarium, the tag can live in peace until it reaches 60 centimeters.

If you already purchased a teenage lizard, then you can immediately acquire an adult vivarium, without spending on previous ones. Lizard, it will be quite comfortable, and the owner will not have to change the home several times. For an adult lizard, a vivarium size of 213 by 90 by 90 or more is well suited. And if there is a pair of tags, they will need a house of at least 244 by 122 by 122 centimeters.

It is important to consider that the choice is better to stop on a wooden or plastic vivarium with a glass front. Fully glass vivariums have more stress for lizards, and it is also more difficult to control the level of humidity in them.

It is necessary that the vivarium has a high enough threshold that will allow it to be filled with a layer of substrate. For fry, a layer of about 10 centimeters will be needed, for a teenage lizard, already 20–25 centimeters, an adult lizard up to 70 centimeters. This is because the tag is very fond of digging. In general, it is immediately understood that the tag requires a lot of space, they grow large and will be very uncomfortable in limited conditions.

Субстрат может быть сделан из разных материалов:

  1. Экологически чистого грунта.
  2. Смеси грунта и песка.
  3. Коры для орхидей.
  4. Большинство предпочитает мульчу.

В любом случае понадобится состав, который будет хорошо удерживать влажность и который ящерица сможет копать.

При желании декорировать вивариум, стоит учесть, что лучше остановиться на простом декоре. For example, snags and stones are suitable, as well as a large cover for the tag. But, if the lizard has a rather deep layer of soil, then it will not need a shelter, it will be buried in the substrate. You should not use artificial or live plants, they will be instantly destroyed tag. Drinking trough and feeder need to take strong, so that the tag is not destroyed and them.

Environmental conditions

For the content of the Argentine tag, as well as other reptiles, it is very important to observe the environmental conditions:

  1. Temperature - you need to provide a temperature gradient so that the pet itself can regulate its temperature. In the warm part of the vivarium it is necessary to maintain the temperature of 29.44-32.22 degrees, in the cool part - 24-26.7 degrees. And at the warm-up point - 43.33-46 degrees. It is important to understand that these are surface temperatures, not the atmosphere, and you will need an infrared thermometer to check it. At night, you can set the temperature in the region of 24 degrees, but never lower it below 18.33.
  2. Best to create the right temperature fit a few heating lamps with low power.
  3. Background heating - if the tag lives in a cool place, it will also need background heating. You can use a ceramic heater for a small vivarium or a tubular heater for a large one. To monitor the temperature, you also need a thermostat, it is best to take an electronic one.
  4. Lighting - Argentinean tag needs ultraviolet. To do this, you will need to take the largest tubular UV lamp that fits in the vivarium. Or you can take a mercury UV lamp and put in place of one of the heat lamps.
  5. Photoperiod - lighting, taking into account the heating lamps and ultraviolet should work in accordance with the daily cycle. Lighting should be present 12-14 hours per day, and 10-12 hours of lighting should not be. Thanks to this, the tag will be artificial day and night.
  6. Humidity - since the Argentine reptile likes wet terrain under natural conditions, she will also need it in the vivarium. Suitable humidity 60-70%. If the substrate is chosen correct and deep, then it will be easy to retain moisture. It will be necessary to sprinkle warm water on the vivarium a couple of times a day, and once a week add warm water to the substrate to moisten it.
  7. Water. The tag should have a large pool, as these lizards love to lie in the water. For fry, and the bowl is suitable, and for a large lizard you need a container. For example, a container for laundry. Its size should be 35 liters, you need to make sure that the lizard is completely immersed in water. It is also necessary to take into account that the pool can be turned over to the tag, which means that the vivarium should be well informed so that the water does not flow out.

Meal Tag

Your pet is mainly carnivorous. Under natural conditions, these predators eat any live food that they come up with and with whom they can deal, but they surely diversify their food ration with fruits.

The diet of an adult lizard

In captivity, the diet of an adult lizard should consist of a third of insects (locusts, crickets, meal worms, feed cockroaches) and earthworms, a third of all kinds of meat (chicken breasts, beef liver and heart, etc.) and a third of vegetable feed (like tomatoes, grapes, pineapple, mushrooms, cabbage, pears, melons, mangoes, apples, strawberries). Do not give the tag citrus!

  • From time to time the lizard can be pampered with rodents.
  • One serving for an adult tag - full dining plate.
  • When feeding adult lizards every three days, arrange one fasting day.
  • The tag is recommended to feed as follows: 1 day insects or worms, 1 day fruits or vegetables, 1 day meat and 1 day - hungry.

What to feed the young individuals?

The basis of the diet of the young lizard - insects (locusts, crickets, meal worms, feed cockroaches). Plant food should be about 25% of the diet and 5-10% is mice and rats.

Young individuals are fed every day. The feeding scheme is as follows: 4 days - insects (10-15 pieces per feeding), 2 days - vegetable food, 1 day - a mouse or a rat.

At any age, the tag requires vitamin and calcium supplements that add to all live food. In combination with UV rays, the supplements will help growth and prevent the development of metabolic bone diseases. These lizards are prone to obesity - do not overfeed them!

So, buying a tag, you need to understand that it will take a lot of space for it. For an adult lizard, the size will be 200x60x70 cm.

  • Priming: The substrate should keep moisture well, the layer should be thick - not less than 10 cm for the young, and 40-50 cm for adults - lizards like to dig.
  • Humidity: Every day, the terrarium should be sprayed abundantly, and once a week, watering a layer of soil with warm water will keep the humidity longer.
  • Drinking bowl: It also performs the function of a reservoir - tag love to take a bath. It is desirable to change the water every day, every other day.
  • Diet: 70% of the menu of a small tag are insects (about 10 pieces at a time), 15% are mice, rat pups, and 15% are plant foods (fruits, vegetables, salads). Feed the tag every day. Adults and teens are fed 3-4 times a week, but the diet is already divided equally between insects, mice and vegetation. The tag should not be thin or thick (soft). His body must be tight.

Handling and Taming

There are two basic views on how to tame: take hands to establish contact and establish contact "without hands."

Taming is not an exact word. Better to say tolerance. You must remember that a tag is not a cat or a dog, but if you spend a lot of time working with a tag, it will become tolerant enough so that you can safely handle your lizard. In the end, some tags even start to enjoy interacting with people.

  1. Pick up. If you use this technique, then there is a risk that your tag will be just scared and, as a result, will not become tolerant.

For starters, you must leave the lizard alone for a couple of weeks for it to become comfortable. Bother her as little as possible (only if you need to replace the water, feed it and clean it). Then start to take her in your arms for five minutes a couple of times a day. Then take for 10 minutes 3-4 times a day, and so on. The main thing in this way to establish contact is perseverance. Yes, they will bite, scratch and beat you with the tail, but you have to be patient and keep trying.

  1. "Without hands". This method takes more time, but brings a much better result than when you take a lizard in your arms to make contact. There is less chance that you will frighten the tag, so you think this is the best way.

You need to start the same way as in the previous method. Just leave the lizard alone for at least 2-4 weeks. Approach the vivarium only if necessary (if you need to change the water, feed, clean, etc.) Do not be surprised if your tag will first run away and hide when you approach the vivarium. After some time, he will stop running away and hiding. From now on, you can try to feed him with tweezers, and not just put food in a vivarium.

Then start putting your hand near him, if he is above and nearby. When he stops running away, if you put your hand, start trying to touch his head. After he stops running away when you touch his head, start picking him up for a short time, for about 5 minutes, at the same time continue to feed him with tweezers, and in the end, you will get a nice tolerant tag.


None of these techniques is a guaranteed way to tame a tag. These are just the ways we would recommend. Some tags will never allow any manipulations with themselves! This is one of the things you need to remember when you are thinking about acquiring a tag. Taming is not going to happen instantly. It will probably take at least 6-8 months before you can handle it without problems. On YouTube, you can see a lot of videos of people who claim that their tags are tame, in reality they are very apathetic patients with the tag, or probably with these tags were not properly handled and frightened as a result, which leads to stress, which in turn significantly reduces life tag.

Recent research

Research has shown that during the mating period, the species of lizard in South America acquires the ability to maintain a constant body temperature 10 ° C above the environment. In other periods of the year, the temperature of the lizard, like that of other reptiles, depends on the external temperature.

Black and white tagu (Salvator merianae) belongs to the family Teiida (Teiidae), also called American monitor lizards. This is a fairly large lizard up to one and a half meters long and weighing up to seven kilograms. Dwells black and white tag in Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil. Some lovers keep them as pets and note the unusually high intelligence of these lizards: they become attached to the host, like dogs and cats, and are able to learn how to execute commands.

The ability to become a warm-blooded animal, unique among reptiles, wakes up from a black and white tag from September to December, when their mating season begins. The researchers, led by Glenn Tattersall of the University of Brock (Canada) and Cleo Leite of the Federal University of San Carlos (Brazil), who discovered this phenomenon, were so surprised that they spent three years checking their observations. Temporary warm-bloodedness is peculiar to both males and females of the black-and-white tag.

Scientists have not yet been able to fully identify the biological mechanisms that allow the tag to warm up its body. They suggest that one of the hormones released during the mating season in the lizard’s body causes an increased activity of certain organs, such as the heart or liver, which ultimately leads to an increase in body temperature.

Glenn Tattersall believes that researching the tag will help to better understand the evolutionary mechanisms that have led to the appearance of the constant warm-bloodedness inherent in birds and mammals now. Black and white tag, according to the scientist, can be an example of a transitional stage of this evolutionary process.

A couple of words for last

The tag is not for the beginner. You will need a lot of experience in creating the necessary conditions, in feeding and taming other species of lizards, which is not so easy to achieve, but the tag is stunning reptiles that are pleasant to own. Taming and caring for them requires a lot of effort. You must be sure that you have the time, money, and enough space to hold these amazing lizards and care for them as they require.

If you think you can properly keep these lizards, then they can become brilliant pets and you will have a lizard with which you can do everything you can do with lizards.