In 2020, the Florida legislature banned the lizard, but that decision was thrown out by a judge who ruled that the Florida constitution gives that power to FWC. Regulatory Status. Here are nine facts about the Argentine tegu. The invasive Peter’s rock agama lizard appears to be spreading in South Florida and could threaten local species as it feeds on insects rather than just plants. Click here to view a map of where the tegu has been found. People in South Florida often call these large green anoles "iguanas" or "iguanitos." ). Florida is full of invasive species. The FWC estimates it spends up to $1 million a year on mitigation related to the tegu. The approved rule changes to Chapter 68-5, F.A.C. Like all nonnative reptile species, green iguanas are not protected in Florida except by anti-cruelty law and can be humanely killed on private property with landowner permission. A dead arapaima washed ashore along Florida's Caloosahatchee River, raising concern that the state's newest invasive species is this monster … According to the FWC, “they have been documented consuming American alligator eggs. They may also impact other ground-nesting native wildlife such as the gopher tortoise, American crocodile, sea turtles and ground-nesting birds. Range: Florida Panhandle Size: 15-26” Description: Legless, shorter than other glass lizard species, bronze with yellow and black stripes and speckles, looks like a snake with eyelids and ears. The Argentine black and white tegu, as the name suggests, is not native to Florida. Tegus will eat just about anything, but have developed a particular taste for eggs. Green iguanas are not native to Florida and are considered an invasive species due to their impacts to native wildlife. The Nile monitor (Varanus niloticus) is a large member of the monitor family found throughout most of Sub-Saharan Africa and along the Nile.The population in West African forests and savannahs is sometimes recognized as a separate species, the West African Nile monitor (V. stellatus). Photos: Argentine tegu: Giant, invasive lizards in Florida. Sadly this is a man-made problem. They can become food-aggressive and difficult to handle by less experienced owners. For more information, see New Rules for Invasive Nonnative Reptiles. Occasionally other escaped pets have established breeding populations and are seen by surprised neighbors. Unlike the infamous but elusive Burmese python, iguanas freely mingle with people — … The green iguana is the most in-your-face invasive species in South Florida. In response, FWC passed a rule banning the breeding of the lizards in three years, although they can still be brought into the state for research and expedition. Today, Florida’s multitudes of introduced species are an especially dramatic expression of global and national disasters. Iguanas, pythons and wild pigs: Florida’s invasive species fiasco. The Argentine tegu has gone from exotic pet to pest in just a matter of years. The tegu has been spotted as far north as Georgia and South Carolina with documented populations in south Florida as well as the Ocala National Forest. A news, media, and production company created by journalism icon Dan Rather and dedicated to insightful coverage and conversation. The omnivore’s appetite for Florida’s birds and turtles makes it a threat to the entire state. More: Large invasive lizard spotted near … Last month the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission banned commercial breeding of non-native tegu lizards in Florida. Tegus have also consumed gopher tortoise hatchlings in Florida.”, Tegu (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission). READ: Ranger the rhino calf joins the herd at Kilimanjaro Safaris. Breeders also say that the current problem with the tegus was caused by prior generations of reptile handlers. The FWC estimates the majority of wild tegus in the state come from people buying the lizard when it is small and then releasing it once it gets too big. These include large lizards like the Nile monitor lizards (Varanus niloticus), the Giant Whiptail (Cnemidophorus motaguae), and the Tegu (Tupinambis sp. They’re coming for the rest of us. Giant lizards, wild boars, coyotes, and pythons are all just part of a regular day on the job for wildlife trapper James Dean. Today, Florida’s multitudes of introduced species are an especially dramatic expression of global and national disasters. Click here to download the free WFTV news and weather apps, and click here to watch the latest news on your Smart TV. Residents are encouraged to report tegu sightings as officials continue to work to control the lizards' spread into Florida. Every year, invasive species cause an estimated $1.4 trillion in various forms of damage and control costs worldwide, according to one widely cited estimate. People think it’s fun to bring these exotic animals into Florida, but then release them when they realize they are too much work. specifically address Burmese pythons, Argentine black and white tegus, green iguanas and 13 other high-risk nonnative snakes and lizards that pose a threat to Florida’s ecology, economy, and human health and safety. The ban doesn’t officially start for three years. Here are nine facts about the Argentine tegu. Every year, invasive species cause an estimated $1.4 trillion in various forms of damage and control costs worldwide, according to one widely cited estimate. Moffitt Cancer Center: Community of Courage. They can grow to be as big as a dog, and they’ll eat just about anything. READ: Giant, invasive lizard threatens Florida. Florida lizards have it good in Southwest Florida, the three things they need most - food, water, and shelter - are available in plentiful supply. It is an introduced species in Florida, and the earliest confirmed records date to the 1920s in the Florida Keys. The Cuban treefrog, Osteopilus septentrionalis (Figure 1), is native to Cuba, the Isle of Youth (an island province of Cuba also known as Isle of Pines), the Cayman Islands, and the Bahamas. Florida offers an Exotic Pet Amnesty Program. Iguanas with chips: Florida seeks solution to invasive reptile problem ‘Tag day’ initiative opposed by some owners of exotic pets State official ‘proud that Florida is looked at as a leader’ ... some down-on-their-luck wildlife importer drove to the woods outside Tampa and released a few of the big lizards. 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