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Planning to buy a tegu?

Recently, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission voted to ban the possession of Argentine black and white tegus, Salvator merianae. These animals will still be legal to keep with a permit obtained prior to August 1, 2022. This means that yes, there is a limited window of time to legally acquire an Argentine black and white tegu and legally keep it in this state for the natural life of the animal. After that date, the opportunity will be closed for the foreseeable future.

Tegus are amazing and rewarding animals to keep and work with. With a cutoff date looming, many NC herpetoculturalists will be looking to acquire tegus, and many vendors will be looking to find homes for their current stock. NCARK supports the responsible keeping of these animals in our state. However, tegus aren’t the right choice for everyone, and we are here to help NC keepers make the choice that is best for them and the animals.

If you’re considering buying a tegu before the restrictions take effect, please take time to watch the video below, and read our care guide here:

Care Guide: Argentine Black and White Tegu, Salvator merianae


  • Tegus are large animals and require massive enclosures with substantial room to dig.
  • Tegus have strict dietary requirements that change over their lifetime.
  • Tegus require regular socialization to bond with their keepers.
  • Tegus are capable of inflicting serious injury if not socialized and handled properly.
  • Tegus are not ideal for novice keepers.
  • All NC resident keepers must have a permit for possession prior to August 1, 2022.
  • If passed, Lacey Act amendments in the America COMPETES Act may restrict trade of tegus across state lines, further limiting ability to rehome these animals.


NOTE: NCWRC’s licensing process and website has not yet been updated for these animals. Therefore, we do not know what changes will be made to the licensing process or cost. We will provide updates as soon as that information is available. Current as of 3/6/2022: