Quantcast

State Game Officials’ Plea: Kill This Species On Sight | VIDEO

May 14, 2020 | (CNN) Georgia officials are working to completely eradicate a species they say poses a major threat to some of the state’s native wildlife: the Argentine black and white tegus.

John Jensen, a biologist with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Conservation Section, said the lizard can grow up to about 4 feet in size and can eat “just about anything they want.”

“Tegus will eat the eggs of ground-nesting birds — including quail and turkeys — and other reptiles, such as American alligators and gopher tortoises, both protected species,” according to the department’s website.

Washington state now has another bug to worry about after ‘murder hornets.’ Gypsy moths

They can also eat fruit, vegetables, pet food, and small animals — including grasshoppers and gopher tortoises.

...article continued below
- Advertisement -

Biologists believe the lizards are in Toombs and Tattnall counties.

The lizards are native to South America, the department says on its website, weigh about 10 pounds or more … Read more. 

Invasive Lizards Threaten Native Georgia Wildlife

DNR and partners are working to eradicate a wild population of Argentine black and white tegus in Toombs and Tattnall counties in southeast Georgia.

Growing up to 4 feet long and weighing 10 pounds or more, this lizard native to South America is an invasive species that threatens Georgia wildlife.

...article continued below
- Advertisement -

Tegus will eat the eggs of ground-nesting birds—including quail and turkeys—and other reptiles, such as American alligators and gopher tortoises, both protected species. They will also eat chicken eggs, fruit, vegetables, plants, pet food, carrion and small live animals, from grasshoppers to young gopher tortoises.

Early detection, rapid response and public involvement are key to stopping tegus in this area.

In Toombs and Tattnall, DNR’s Wildlife Resources Division, the U.S. Geological Survey and Georgia Southern University are trapping tegus, tracking sightings and assessing the population.

Tell DNR when you see a tegu in the wild, alive or dead. These reports help biologists document occurrences and respond effectively. Note the location, take a photo if possible and report the sighting:

Online: www.gainvasives.org/tegus
Phone: (478) 994-1438
Email: [email protected]

In Toombs and Tattnall counties, keep pet food inside, fill holes that might serve as shelter and clear yards of debris such as brush piles that can provide cover for tegus. (The neighboring counties are located just south of I-16, midway between Macon and Savannah.)

Be a responsible pet owner. Do your research before buying an exotic pet, and don’t let it loose.

Note that as a non-native species, tegus in the wild in Georgia are not protected by state wildlife laws or regulations. They can be legally trapped or killed. However, animal cruelty and local ordinances apply, as do appropriate safety precautions.

The Argentine black and white tegu (Salvator merianae), largest of all tegu species, is native to Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina.

Black to dark gray with white speckled bands across the back and tail, these reptiles can weigh 10 pounds or more and live 20 years. Hatchlings have bright green on their heads, a coloration that fades at about 1 month old.

Sizes vary by age. Hatchlings can be about 6-8 inches long. Adults documented in the wild in Georgia have averaged slightly less than 2 feet.

Tegus are active by day. These fast-moving, terrestrial lizards are rarely found more than a few feet off the ground. But they are strong swimmers and can stay submerged for extended periods.

Tegus occupy mixed grassland/woodlands and disturbed habitats such as forest clearings, fence rows and roadsides. They winter in burrows or under cover in a hibernation-like state called brumation.

In Argentina, tegus are found from sea level up to altitudes of 4,100 feet.

Adult tegus have few predators and can multiply quickly. Females reach reproductive age at about 12 inches long or after their second season of brumation.

They can lay about 35 eggs a year. Hatching in Georgia would be expected in June/July.

Tegus are legal as pets in Georgia but it is illegal to release non-native animals into the wild.

Although not considered aggressive toward people, tegus will defend themselves if threatened. They can react fast and lash with their tails. They have sharp teeth and claws and strong jaws.

In Georgia, tegus might be confused with native reptiles such as juvenile alligators (which are protected), broadhead skinks and eastern fence lizards (although even as adults, all native lizards would be no larger than a hatchling tegu).

 

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

TRENDING

Large Ivermectin Study Retracted

MEDPAGE TODAY – A large Egyptian study of ivermectin for COVID-19 patients has been retracted over concerns of plagiarism and serious problems with their...

Texas Mayor Pleads: ‘Be Like Trump’

Midland Reporter-Telegram – During a press conference to put a spotlight on getting more people vaccinated, Midland, Texas Mayor Patrick Payton said he is...

Birth Control Users Demand Wider Choice in Taxpayer-Funded Devices

KAISER HEALTH NEWS – For Stephanie Force, finding a birth control method that she likes and can get without paying out-of-pocket has been a...

African Monkeypox Virus Tracked In 27 States

STAT NEWS – More than 200 people in 27 states are being monitored for possible exposure to monkeypox after they had contact with an...

99.5% Of Texas Covid Dead Had One Thing In Common

TEXAS TRIBUNE – Of the 8,787 people who have died in Texas due to COVID-19 since early February, at least 43 were fully vaccinated,...

Florida man gets home from doctor, finds naked stranger in his pool

CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla (WFLA) — A man found a surprise guest in his pool after returning from the doctor’s office, prompting him to call law...

Kamala’s Laugh: “Funny Ha-Ha” Or “Funny Peculiar”?

L.A. TIMES – Seriously, to weigh how the first woman and first woman of color to become vice president is perceived, Kamala Harris’ laugh...

Dying Patients Regret Vaccine Choice

AL.COM – Dr. Brytney Cobia said Monday that all but one of her COVID patients in Alabama did not receive the vaccine. The vaccinated...

The Cancer That Killed John McCain

Consumer Health: Understanding glioblastoma MAYO CLINIC NEWS NETWORK – Glioblastoma Awareness Day will be observed on Wednesday, July 21, which makes this a good time...

Why Aren’t The Vaccines Approved?

The F.D.A. is encouraging people to get a Covid-19 shot — but hasn’t formally approved those vaccines. New York Times – It is the most...
- Advertisement -