A black and white Tegu lizard
A black and white Tegu lizard sticks out its tongue at the Yebo Gogga exhibition at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg Wednesday, May 13, 2015. The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources has announced the first documented case of the large, non-native black and white tegu lizard in the state. (AP Photo/Denis Farrell)

LEXINGTON, S.C. (AP) — The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources has announced the first documented case of the large, non-native black and white tegu lizard in the state.

The department said in a news release that an approximately 2.5 feet long adult female was captured in Lexington County.

The lizards are popular in the pet trade and can grow to 4 feet long, according to the release.

Andrew Grosse, a herpetologist with the department, said in a statement Friday that the lizards, which have become established in neighboring Georgia and in Florida, pose a threat to native wildlife.

“Tegus mature and reproduce quickly, though most concerning may be their preference for eggs and the potential impacts to our native ground-nesting birds like turkey and quail, as well as other species such as the state-endangered gopher tortoise,” Grosse said.

The department is asking the public to report sightings of the lizards.

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Large, Non-Native Tegu Lizard Documented in South Carolina

AP, Environment, News |