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This is the largest species of tegu. Its life span is about fifteen to twenty years. It inhabits the tropical rainforests of East and Central South America. Adult individuals like dense foliage and forage for food, of which they consume as much as possible before going into hibernation in autumn. They also exhibit an unusually high level of intelligence among reptiles, along with a high level of physical activity during the wakeful period of the year. Tegus are prone to food aggression; they will quickly learn to associate human presence with food, and may turn their enthusiastic feeding response upon their caretakers if certain precautions are not taken.
Esta es la especie más grande de lagartos overos. Su promedio de vida es de quince a veinte años. Habita los bosques subtropicales de Sudamérica oriental y central. Los individuos adultos prefieren los ambientes de denso follage y pastos altos donde consumen ávidamente comida antes del período de hibernación en el otoño. Exhiben un alto e inusual rango de inteligencia entre los reptiles junto con una gran intensidad física durante el período de actividad en el año. Los lagartos overos tienden también a una cierta agresión asociada a la comida; rápidamente asocian la presencia humana con la misma y pueden desviar su respuesta alimenticia hacia sus cuidadores si no se toman ciertas precauciones.

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