Florida Now Invaded By
By James Donahue
As if the boa constrictors, wild boars and large biting
mosquitoes weren't enough, people living in and around the swampy areas of Florida are now dealing with exotic black
and white tegu lizards.
Like so many exotic animals imported for sale as unusual pets, the lizards eventually grow large . . . up to four
feet in length. And their owners have been releasing them in the wild.
The other horror here; these lizards reproduce like rabbits,
laying between 25 and 50 eggs at a time. Wildlife workers say they are now catching hundreds of these lizards every time they
go on a hunt.
The lizards also have amazing
appetites. They eat plants and other animals, even creatures with shells.
The Florida Wildlife Commission is setting traps in public campgrounds and when possible,
on private lands to help keep the lizard population under control. They say once captured, the lizards are humanely euthanized.
The tegu lizard is not native to Florida and has
no known predator to help maintain a natural balance. Their natural habitat is South America, namely Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay