Exotic 4-Foot Lizards are now invading Florida according to a blog post from  Paul Shin via the  ABC news blog post from today, February 26th 2014 at 6:00 am. “The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has confirmed more than 100 sightings of the Tegu lizard throughout Hillsborough County Exotic lizards” They are from South America, but they are now  making southwest Florida their new home. This happens when  people purchase them as pets legally and later on when they are tired of them decide to releases them into the wild.  According to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), they are breeding quickly laying 25 to 50 eggs at a time.  The Tegu are currently devastating native wildlife in Florida!

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is currently working with other agencies and organizations to assess the threat of this species and develop management strategies. For more information on the Tegu Lizard, one option is to  go to the  Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission  website and enter the term Tegu in the search box.   We tried and found that there are  no  regulatory information regarding this species  at this time.

However, if you want  to get more  information regarding the problem of invasive species in general  the  U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service will be worth exploring.  Just add “invasive species” in their search box and make selections from there.

We decided to  check whether  the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service  has added Tegu lizard as an  invasive species, or whether there currently are any proposed regulations that deals with the Tegus  problem in Florida. Our search  for “Tegu Lizard” in the advanced  search option  in FDsys  via the Federal Register did not display any proposed regulations at this time.   However, it is just a matter of time until regulations will be in place.

Hattip to our colleague Hyla Bondareff for alerting us today that it is not just pythons that are feasting in Florida.

Mark Kloempken and Tove Klovning