Monday, April 29, 2013


If you live in Bay County in the Florida panhandle, you are asked by officials with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to be on the lookout for 30lb exotic lizards. They have recaptured 33 specimens of Argentine black and white tegu (Tupinambis merianae), but a few are still missing in the Cedar Grove area of Hiland Park. Tegus (ABOVE IS AN EXAMPLE OF THE BLUE VARIETY) are omnivorous tropical reptiles that can grow more than 4' long and live for 20 years. They are said to make good pets, because they have a high level of intelligence and form attachments with their owners. Usually quite docile as adults, they do have sharp teeth and claws and strong jaws to defend themselves if they feel threatened. The agency has set up a hotline for people in the neighborhood to report sightings rather than try to capture the lizards themselves. “During the investigation, the current residents have been nothing but helpful,” says officer Jerry Shores. As a nonnative species, the tegus threaten the natural Florida wildlife until they are caught – which is why a criminal investigation has been launched against the licensed seller of the lizards who left town and abandoned them.

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