REIDSVILLE, Ga. (CBS Local) — An invasive South American lizard that officials in Georgia are attempting to eradicate “should be shot on sight,” a reptile conservation group says.
The Argentine Black and White Tegu lizard was recently found in Tattnall County, in southeast Georgia, according to the Orianne Society. Biologists believe the lizards are also in Toombs County, CNN reports.
The Orianne Society describes the invasive lizard — believed to have been introduced in Georgia as escaped or released pets — as a “voracious predator” that has preyed on wildlife in Florida.
“Tegus seen in Georgia can and should be shot on sight,” the group wrote Monday on Facebook.
The lizard can eat “just about anything they want,” said John Jensen, a biologist with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Conservation Section.
The lizards grow up to about 4 feet in size, weigh about 10 pounds or more and live up to 20 years. They are black to gray with white, speckled bands across their bodies. Females can lay about 35 eggs in a year, the department said.
DNR is asking the public to report any sightings of the reptile in order to aid their efforts to track and eradicate the lizards.
“If you are able to safely and humanely dispatch of the animal, we encourage that and we want that information too,” Jensen said.