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Tegu Lizards Are Taking Over the Everglades

by Danny New | Monday, October 31, 2016

Tegus are the latest foreign animal to threaten South Florida's unique ecosystem, where the warm, wet weather and multiple ports of trade have made it an epicenter for runaway invasive species. Dozens of types of creatures that arrived via the exotic pet trade have found a new home here, from the Cuban tree frog to the Nile crocodile to the infamous Burmese python, which is now so pervasive the state sponsors an annual hunt for the giant snakes. But no case better illustrates the state's persistent invasive species problem than the tegu. "Pythons are big, sexy animals, and TV cameras love 'em," tegu trapper Rodney Irwin says. "But we've got a small python problem and a really big tegu problem. We have never had a threat on this level."

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