Hide your cats because these lizards be eating them up in here. Well that might be a little bit of an exaggeration but it is basically the tag line that local news outlets are using to warn residents about the invasive black and white tagu that has invaded Tampa.
The tagu is a large lizard that native to South America. It can grow up to 4 feet long and has a bad attitude. Right now wildlife officials estimate there is somewhere around 300 of these lizards in the county.
According to ABC 15, the non-native invader is becoming a menace much like Burmese pythons are plaguing the Everglades down south. “This is an animal that eats eggs, small mammals, snakes, lizards, birds, maybe even a house cat,” says Lewis Single, who works in the herpetology department at Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa. “That’s a species I would be more concerned with in Hillsborough County than the Burmese python.”
“A big lizard can be a very exciting animal for a young kid to run across, they want to catch it,” says Single. "If they want to grab a large tegu, they could get sent to the hospital.”
The Fish & Wildlife Commission said they have “concern” about the tegu, but as of right now, there is no eradication plan in place as of yet.
For the complete press release CLICK HERE