Tale of a Tegu: Giant lizard visits Paracatu HR

When I began working at Kinross Paracatu in June 2010 as an HR intern, the offices were surrounded by forest. Right outside the window were birds, monkeys, fruit trees and flowers. Occasionally we were treated to visits by illustrious guests. 

One day a huge tegu lizard presented himself at the open door of our ground floor offices.  He did not have an appointment.  He was about 80 cm long and beautifully coloured.

There were two people in the office at the time, myself and my colleague. We both jumped up on our chairs and screamed. The groundskeeper, who was out in the garden and heard the commotion, came running over and suggested we try to leave the room, but it wasn’t easy with the tegu standing at the door. We stood on our chairs looking at the tegu while he looked back at us. I reassured myself that mature tegus rarely climb and this tegu looked pretty mature.

Tegus are one of the largest lizards found in Brazil. They can reach 140 cm in length and weigh up to five kg. They are omnivores and are not known for their politeness. They bite and use their tails to whip their enemies.  They are not popular with farmers, because they like to raid chicken coops and eat eggs.

Our tegu looked friendly enough. At the time, Kinross Paracatu was recruiting. I had the feeling that the tegu was interested in applying. After all, life is not easy for tegus in Brazil. They get harvested for their hides and meat and are also captured and sold into the pet trade.

Fortunately, the tegu was not impressed by the reception he got from our HR team. He turned around and shuffled away.

Now I work as a controller in the maintenance department at Paracatu.  Our offices have moved to another plant nearby. We miss the mangos that used to grow outside our windows, and the odd unexpected visitor. 

The author: Élida Ferreira, Administrative Assistant at Paracatu

This is not  the same tegu that applied for a postion at Kinross,but it could be his cousin. Photo by Osmar Ferreira, biologist at Paracatu

Tegu (Tupinambis teguixin). Photo care of http://snakepaulo.blogspot.com.br/2011/07/teiu.html