Meet MacGyver The Red Tegu Who Acts Like a Dog With Scales

MacGyver the lizard is so adorable you would think he was a mellow dog, or a hairless cat.

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MacGyver the lizard is a 4-year-old Red Tegu lizard that acts like a dog. Via MacGyver the Lizard/Facebook
John Virata

MacGyver is a cold-blooded reptile — he just doesn’t act like it.

MacGyver is kept by a man named Scott and his wife, Ice, in an apartment in New York City, where the Red Tegu pretty much has free roam of the place, including his own basking spot in a closet. He also has a presence on Instagram. Scott has had MacGyver since the lizard hatched out on the 4th of July in 2012 but has enjoyed reptiles since he was a kid.

“As a kid, the first lizard I ever had was a Blue-Belly Western Fence Swift that I caught near my house and named Lizzy,” Scott told “I didn’t get into tegus until my college years when I saw them on YouTube and was amazed at how smart and friendly they were.”

MacGyver has quickly become a celebrity in the social media sphere, as not too many people know what a Tegu is or how they are kept, but Scott has helped educate folks on social media that lizards, and especially large lizards like MacGyver can be social and lovable animals.

“I started documenting his taming process on the first day we got him with simple videos on my phone just to share with other tegu keepers,” Scott told “After a couple months I used the YouTube video editor to put a bunch of those clips together in a short montage which exploded in popularity on YouTube, getting about 100,000 views in a couple weeks. That’s when I decided to start investing a little time in creating some higher quality videos of him to share with the world, and it was around this time I created his Facebook page. I got him setup on Tumblr about a year ago, and most recently on Instagram only a few months ago… but his Instagram page is taking off really fast because he’s so well known already from YouTube.”

MacGyver goes a lot of places with his keepers. He has been to the top of the Empire State Building:    

  I dunno why more lizards don’t check out the view from atop the Empire State Building   A photo posted by MacGyver the Lizard (@macgyverlizard) on

He has strolled around the Freedom Tower:

Strolling around Freedom Tower looking for some giant lizards to chat up.

A photo posted by MacGyver the Lizard (@macgyverlizard) on

And oftentimes he goes to the park:  

But mostly he just likes to hang around with his mommy.

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  • Great lizard, but you feed him way too much. He’s already obese and that, combined with lack of hibernation, will drastically shorten his life :(… Put him to diet, more vegetables.

    Fabian April 25, 2016 8:47 pm Reply
  • Tegus need a proper enclosure with high heat, humidity, and sufficient substrate to burrow. Free roaming full-time is detrimental to the animal’s health.

    Grayson April 25, 2016 10:03 pm Reply
  • No risk for salmonella?

    abx April 26, 2016 8:01 am Reply
  • Nice balls

    jojo April 26, 2016 8:03 am Reply

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