Exotic Lizard from South America Invading Georgia

A large exotic lizard from Argentina is beginning to invade south Georgia according to state wildlife officials. The black and white Tegu can grow up to be 4 feet long and can reproduce quickly.

The Tegu is a very popular pet in Florida, but the problem began when people started releasing them into the wild. The Tegus have been causing problems for Florida wildlife for years and now they are moving into Georgia.

Georgia DNR is looking for the public to report any sightings of these lizards as its beginning to be mating season. Females can lay 35 eggs a year and populations can grow rapidly.

So why should we be worried? SavannahNow.com says:

Argentine black and white tegus are an invasive species that grows large, reproduces fast and eats lots of things, from fruit to eggs, birds and small mammals. Tegus would pose a threat to native wildlife, including gopher tortoises, a candidate for Endangered Species Act listing. Tegus have been documented using gopher tortoise burrows and eating tortoise eggs and the young.
The eggs of ground-nesting birds such as northern bobwhites and wild turkeys could be susceptible. Tegus also will eat vegetables, pet food and chicken eggs.

 

Report your Tegu sightings by taking a photo and note the location at gainvasives.org/tegus.

Photo: Getty Images

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