NEWS BRIEF: Invasive lizards threaten Georgia wildlife

Attack of the tegus in Tattnall and Toombs

IMG 1188
Photo credit: Courtesy Wikimedia/Public Domain
Argentine Black Lizard found in Georgia

Lizards native to South America that can weigh 10 pounds and grow to four feet in length are causing havoc with wildlife in southeast Georgia. The Argentine black and white tegus is known to devour the eggs of birds, alligators, and tortoises; the reptile can also spread salmonella and parasites to indigenous creatures and cause bacterial contamination of crops.

The Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Division is working to assess and eradicate the tegus population in Tattnall and Toombs counties and with help from local residents is tracking sightings and setting traps.

Early detection, rapid response and public involvement are key to stopping tegus in the wild in Georgia, the DNR says on its website. “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.”