Invasive lizards the size of dogs are roaming S.C.

SC Department of Natural Resources/provided
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Imagine this. You’re out walking around somewhere in the South Carolina woods and you see a lizard the size of a dog.

Uh-huh, nope, you might mutter as you back away from the out-sized creature with a distinctive black and white pattern as if someone used batik to dress it up.

Chances are, it once was somebody’s pet.

The Argentine Black and White Tegu, once a darling of the pet trade, is now banned in South Carolina as it is in Georgia and Florida, where it was first seen in the wild in the United States a decade ago.

It has been spreading north ever since.

Tegus have been spotted across South Carolina, specifically in Greenville, Pickens, Darlington, Orangeburg, Berkeley, Richland and Lexington counties, DNR reported on its website — more than half from the Columbia area.

Like many non-native species threatening native wildlife, these tegus are out roaming around because an owner let them go.

Will Dillman of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources said the interest in tegus stemmed from their submissive nature and intelligence.

They won’t hurt you but they are predators. They eat both plants and animals.


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Chuck comes from a lineage of journalism. He has written for some of the webs most popular news sites. He enjoys spending time outdoors, bull riding, and collecting old vinyl records. Roll Tide!