Invasive tegu lizard spotted in Darlington County

Pee Dee

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)

DARLINGTON COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — An invasive tegu lizard was spotted in Darlington County, according to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

The DNR didn’t specify where in Darlington County the lizard was spotted, or how many were spotted, but said there have been 13 confirmed sightings of black and white tegu lizards in several counties since the initial report in Lexington County in August 2020.

More than half of the sightings have been in the Columbia area, and two were reported in Lexington and Richland counties last week, according to the DNR. Nine tegu lizards have been removed from the wild.

The lizards could have a negative impact on ground-nesting birds and other species, including the state-endangered gopher tortoise, according to the DNR.

The lizards have been added to the DNR’s list of “Restricted Non-native Wildlife” in May, and by Sept. 25, all black and white tegu lizards and their hybrids must be registered with the DNR. In addition, no tegu lizards can be bought or sold in the state.

Anyone who spots a black and white tegu lizard is asked to report it to DNR biologist Andrew Grosse by emailing grossea@dnr.sc.gov or by reporting them online. Anyone reporting is asked to submit a photo, location, time, and date it was seen, if possible.

More information about the lizards can be found on the DNR tegu webpage.

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