South Carolina has just documented its first Tegu Lizard in the wild.
The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) reported finding the large creature over the weekend in Lexington County, about 60 miles south of Charlotte.
They posted about the discovery on their Facebook page, noting that sightings of the creature have been on the rise around the state. “SCDNR staff have received multiple reports from Lexington and Aiken counties.”
The species, which are native to South America, can reach up to 4 feet and weigh over 10 pounds. They are powerful omnivores that hunt birds, mammals, and other reptiles. They also eat fruits, vegetables, insects and eggs.
SCDNR warns that the potentially invasive creatures could threaten several native species, spread exotic parasites, and even cause the bacterial contamination of crops.
Please report any sightings of black and white tegus in the wild to Andrew Grosse, firstname.lastname@example.org.