Invasive lizard species spotted for first time in South Carolina
Wildlife officials in South Carolina have confirmed the first sighting of a black and white tegu lizard in Lexington County, the Department of Natural Resources said in a news release. The species is popular in the pet trade and is already established in Florida and Georgia. Tegus are voracious omnivores, eating a variety of prey including birds, small mammals, reptiles and amphibians, fruits, vegetables, insects and eggs.
“The introduction of any non-native species can have serious negative impacts on native wildlife. Black and white tegus are no exception,” said SCDNR herpetologist Andrew Grosse. “Tegus mature and reproduce quickly, though most concerning may be their preference for eggs and the potential impacts on our native ground-nesting birds like turkey and quail, as well as other species such as the state-endangered gopher tortoise.”
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