The state will set up a program allowing people to capture or destroy the species on public lands and in state waters.
The climate in the Tampa Bay area is pretty ideal for tegu. The lizards were likely introduced by lazy pet owners dumping exotic pets in the woods.
Then they began breeding.
Tegu have a voracious appetite. They love to eat alligator eggs, tortoise eggs, your cat or your dog.
A few days ago a huge tegu was spotting strolling the streets of Old Northeast St. Pete.
“Tegu diminish our alligator population, our gopher tortoise population,” says Amy DePalma, a ranger at Boyd Hill Nature Preserve. “They’ll go after small dogs. I would definitely be worried about your house cats.”
DePalma and her colleagues have set traps for two, possibly even three, tegu on the St. Pete park’s property. They want to stop them before they mate.
“This habitat is perfect for them to reproduce in,” says DePalma. “No Tegu dating. They’re not allowed!”