COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) – State officials said eight more large invasive lizards have been spotted in South Carolina since one was captured in August.
The five of the Argentine black and white tegu lizards were spotted in Lexington and Richland counties, two in Berkeley County, and one in Greenville County.
The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources said the black and white tegus have become established in Georgia and Florida and have potential impacts to turkey and quail as well as the state-endangered gopher tortoise.
“The number and distribution of black and white tegu reports in just a few weeks is concerning. Documented sightings come from as far north as Greenville county and as far south as Berkeley county,” said State Herpetologist Andrew Grosse.
Five of the lizards which were sighted were successfully removed from the wild and were males and females between two and three feet long.
“Necropsies show the tegus have all been scavenging native plants and animals, including toads, various insects and muscadines,” said Grosse. “This indicates these individuals are wild, free roaming and foraging opportunistically. It is important that this species does not establish in our state.”