Tegus In the Wild Pose Threat to Ag
Wildlife officials are warning that tegu, a South American lizard that can grow up to 4 feet long, continue to spread across the Southeast.
The Argentine black and white tegu has been introduced through the pet trade and has established breeding populations in Florida, Alabama, and other southeast states.
Tegus can be voracious eaters and pose a threat to native wildlife as well as agriculture.
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources and the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension are working to find and remove the big South American lizards from the wild. They say the public’s help remains critical.
“It has become established as an invasive species in several sites in South Florida and now we believe in the Tombs and Tattnall County area of Georgia. We’re trying to remove them from the wild because they can have negative impacts on our native species. They eat just about anything they want, plant and animal matter.”
Georgia DNR wildlife biologist John Jensen says they are asking anyone who comes across a tegu in the wild to report the location so they can focus their trapping resources.
The large lizards are a burrowing species. And like the wild boar in other parts of the country, can do significant damage to agricultural lands.