Unwanted Guest Under Porch Linked To Larger Tegu Invasion Threatening Georgia Ecosystem
In a quiet Athens neighborhood, a group of curious children made an astonishing discovery one day while playing in their backyard. Looking under a porch, they stumbled upon a 3-foot-long lizard, a species not native to Georgia.
As Men’s Journal reports, this formidable reptile turned out to be an Argentine black and white tegu, a non-native invader with a voracious appetite.
According to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Tegus, popular in the exotic pet trade, hail from South America and can grow up to 4 feet long. These creatures have found their way into the wild in Florida and even southeast Georgia, causing growing concerns.
Tegus have a particular fondness for devouring eggs and, in the process, infecting native wildlife with exotic parasites, The Telegraph reports. Their appetite extends to fruits, vegetables, plants, pet food, carrion, and even small live animals. This invasive behavior poses a significant threat to local ecosystems.
While owning a tegu is legal in Georgia, there are specific regulations in place to mitigate the risks. As WRDW reports, Tegus must be registered with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, microchipped, and prohibited from breeding.
The Danger of Tegus
As Phys.org reports, Tegus have a ravenous appetite, consuming the eggs of quails, turkeys, and other ground-nesting birds. They also pose a threat to American alligators and gopher tortoises, which are protected species.
As an invasive species, tegus can potentially transmit diseases, parasites, and bacterial contamination to crops, reports the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. This poses a significant concern for both wildlife and public health.
While tegus are not typically aggressive, they can become agitated when cornered or during mating season. According to The Guardian, they have a sharp bite, and their long tails can inflict injury.
Stay vigilant, and if you ever spot a tegu on your property, remember: it’s better to snap a photo and report it to the authorities than to approach this intriguing but potentially harmful creature. Together, we can help protect native wildlife and preserve delicate ecosystems.
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