An Invasive Species of Lizard has Been Sighted

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Kai Hetherington, Writer

A very invasive type of lizard, known as the White Tegu is slowly spreading out in the Southeast and is threatening wildlife. According to the Georgia Department of Natural resources, the lizard mainly feeds on ground nesting bird eggs and is native to South America. Many wildlife Officials are worried that the lizard will start depleting resources for other animals, transmit diseases, and cause habitat damage. The lizards grow up to a huge four feet long and more than 10 pounds. Their diet mainly consists of fruits, vegetables, eggs, and insects. The White Tegu lizards have very few predators, so their population grows rapidly.

No one knows how they got released into the wild, but they are legal as pets in many states, so it is a possibility that a domestic lizard was released. Many reports in the county’s of Georgia such as Toombs and Tattnall were investigated all the way back in may. The U.S Geological Society and Georgia Southern University have teamed with the department to trap the lizards and remove them. When the lizard’s are captured they are euthanized and their diet and reproductive status are documented. 

The first confirmed Tegu sighting was in August in South Carolina. Many Wildlife experts are trying to persuade residents of the community to document where the animal is spotted, so they can track them down. The lizards are usually known to occupy parts in Florida, with many confirmed sightings in Hillsborough, Miami-Dade, St. Lucie and Charlotte counties. Coupled with the Asian Giant Hornets also invading parts of the U.S, this year has had many sightings of invasive species.