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Georgia residents warned about invasive lizard that poses risk to native wildlife

Large Nonnative Lizard
Posted at 8:44 AM, Apr 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-13 11:44:00-04

People in Georgia are being asked to report sightings of the Argentine black and white tegus.

The lizard can grow up to 4-feet long and weigh more than 10 pounds, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

The reptiles reportedly pose a threat to wildlife native to Georgia, including gopher tortoises, ground-nesting birds and wild turkeys.

“With area residents, hunters and other folks helping us keep an eye out for and controlling tegus, we are cautiously optimistic we can control this population," said Daniel Sollenberger, a DNR senior wildlife biologist.

Wildlife officials don't know where the tegus originated. However, they say the lizards are a popular pet.

Georgia officials say tegus have also been reported in Florida and South Carolina.