Tupinambis


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Tupinambis

 

(teju, tegu), a genus of reptiles of the family Teiidae of the suborder Sauria (Lacertilia). Tejus measure up to 90 cm in length and weigh up to 5 kg. There are four species, which are distributed in South America. The best known is Tupinambis teguixin, which inhabits forests, riverbanks, swamps, and fields. It shelters primarily in armadillo burrows and old termite nests and anthills. Its diet consists of small mammals, birds and their eggs (it sometimes raids chicken coops), amphibians, invertebrates, and fruits. From 23 to 36 eggs are deposited in the loose soil that fills old passageways in armadillo burrows or in piles of plant residue. The meat of the tejus tastes like chicken and is used for food. The skin is used to make various articles.