The Argentinean reptile known as the tegu found a home in south Florida. It is gaining a reputation as one of the state’s most aggressive invaders.
The tegu’s range is expanding as the reptile’s population numbers climb. Florida’s wildlife biologists now face this question: Could the invasive tegu become as bad as the Burmese python?
Officials are now tracking this creature in the southern Everglades, because it poses a threat to native birds, alligators, and even crocodiles.
Biologists captured a female tegu and banded it with a GPS tracking system attached to her back. The reptile, dubbed number 1125, is now scurrying through the underbrush and sawgrass of the Everglades refuge.
Tegus will eat anything from fruits and seeds to eggs and small mammals. Unlike the destructive Burmese python, the tegu is capable of surviving cold temperatures as low as 35 degrees. This makes it even more threatening to native species.
Biologists began trapping tegus in 2009, when they caught 31 of the lizards. In 2015, this number quickly approaches the 500 mark.
Will the tegu become the next Burmese python?