BURLINGAME (CBS SF) – A large lizard that is native to South America is available for adoption from the Peninsula Humane Society & Society for the Prevention for Cruelty to Animals in Burlingame.

Tony is a six pound, two feet long, black and white Argentinean tegu, which is available from the shelter’s Center of Compassion at 1450 Rollins Road.

Tony’s owner surrendered him last week because the owner is moving and is now unable to care for the animal.

Tegus resemble monitor lizards, shelter officials said.

Tony is five years old, has been well cared for, is social and can be handled. Tegus can live 15 to 20 years old with proper diet, housing, grooming and handling, according to shelter officials and spokesman Scott Delucchi.

Tegus can be amenable pets because they tend to attach themselves to their owners and as adults are quite docile. They’re also intelligent and can be house broken, shelter officials said.

Tony should be housed separately from other pets. During warmer months he would enjoy an outdoor area to get sun, a soaking pool, and an area large enough to get exercise and mental stimulation, such as a backyard where he can roam and explore.

Tony will spend most of his time indoors and access to a secure area or room where he can roam would benefit him. The room should be easy to clean and free from chemicals.

He also needs an enclosure that is 6 feet long, 2 feet wide and 3 to 4 feet tall that includes a misting device and heater.

Shelter officials would prefer an experienced reptile owner adopt Tony. The adoption fee is $100, considerably less than someone would pay at a reptile show or pet store, Delucchi said.

Tony is an omnivore and his diet consists of fruit, eggs, beef liver, chicken, ground turkey and bugs, shelter officials said.

The shelter hasn’t ever placed a tegu before but the shelter places dozens of exotic pets each year and now has several reptiles and lizards available for adoption.

These include a ball python, a corn snake, two bearded dragons, a leopard gecko, a Chinese Water Dragon, and two red-ear slider turtles.

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