The Argentine black-and-white tegu is native to South America, but National Geographic says the large lizards are taking over in the Florida Everglades and have started popping up in Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama. Louisiana, and Texas. Biologists say the creatures are omnivorous, eating pretty much anything they can fit in their mouths. They're also extremely hardy, so it's tough to reduce the population or control the spread once the species becomes established in an area.
Like other Florida invasive reptiles, tegus got a foothold in the wild after many escaped captivity or were released by pet owners. Tegus have been breeding in South Florida for more than a decade, but have only recently begun to spread to other states.
The lizards are described as docile and intelligent, but they will happily eat any smaller animals, fruits, or vegetables they can get to, making them a threat for pet owners and farmers.
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