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A large lizard species, the Argentine Black and White tegu can reach lengths of 4 feet and can weigh up to 15 pounds.
This species of tegu is native to South America and can be found in Southern Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia, Northern Argentina, and Northern Uruguay.
A generalist, which occupies dry sandy upland environments as well as both forested and open areas. The range of environment is temperate to subtropical. It is also common in anthropic (human-disturbed) settings, such as agricultural areas and along the edges of roads. The black & white tegu is also invasive to Florida, where it consumes native small mammals and eggs.
Juveniles are highly insectivorous in the wild, consuming arthropods such as beetles, ants, grasshoppers, and spiders. Interestingly, they gorge on noxious-secreting millipedes frequently as well. Dietary protein also includes small rodents, snails, and eggs. Tegu’s are important seed dispersal agents for many fruits, and will eat a variety of fruits and vegetables.
At Mystic Aquarium, our tegu is offered fruit such as raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, banana, mango, and apple once a week. Twice a week our tegu is fed hard-boiled eggs and mice.
Humans are the main predators of tegus.
Scientific Name: Tupinambis merianae
Size: 4 feet long and up to 15 pounds
Range: Southern Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia, Northern Argentina, Northern Uruaguay
Prey: Omnivorous diet which includes fruits, vegetables, small rodents, snails and eggs
Conservation status: Least Concern
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Size: African penguins range from 18 to 25 inches tall and weigh up to 11 pounds
Range/Distribution: The only penguin to breed in Africa, the African penguin ranges from Namibia to South Africa. Young penguins have been known to migrate north and west along the coastline and are found between Southern Angola, Namibia, and sometimes found off Gabon, Congo, and Mozambique, but generally reside in South Africa.
Appearance: The African penguin has a robust, torpedo-shaped body with black feathers on their back, flippers, and head while white feathers cover their front with the exception of horseshoe-shaped black stripe on the chest. Following the penguin’s first few molts a white stripe will develop around its cheek and throat. These birds have a bare patch above their eyes to assist with regulating their body temperature.
Habitat: When not hunting for food in the water, African penguins are found along rocky shores or brushy coastal areas.
Prey: African penguins feed on 25 species of fish, such as sardine and anchovy but also prey on squid and krill. A penguin may eat up to one pound of food or up to 14% of their weight.
Predators: African penguins face predation by gulls, feral cats and mongoose while nesting on land, while sharks and fur seals hunt African penguins in the water.
Life Span: The African penguin may live up to late 30 years in an aquarium or zoo but averages of 15-20 years are seen in the wild populations.
Mating Behaviors: There are no set breeding seasons for African penguins, however, most penguin pairs are monogamous and will remain together over several breeding years. The male will prepare a nest by digging a shallow burrow in sand or in brush using guano (penguin waste) and any materials nearby to complete the nest for the female to lay two eggs. Both the male and female share the nesting and chick duties, keeping the young safe from predators and warm temperatures. The chicks will hatch between 38 and 42 days and will leave the nest when they are between 60 to 130 days of age.
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