VIDEO: Tegu lizards steal Florida alligator eggs - WHLT 22 Connecting the Pine Belt

VIDEO: Tegu lizards steal Florida alligator eggs

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University of Florida researchers YouTube image University of Florida researchers YouTube image
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Surveillance video of tegu lizards stealing eggs from an alligator's nest shows how the lizards could be posing a threat to Florida's ecosystem.

Tegu lizards are an invasive species which reproduces quickly and eats a wide variety of food. It is believed that Florida's tegu population was founded by escaped or released pets, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

In 2013, University of Florida researchers hid cameras near nests of an American Alligator and an American Crocodile in Miami-Dade County, where tegus are established.

Researchers monitored the tegus' activity and found out that the lizards stole turtle and alligator eggs from one of the nests.

They initially counted 30 alligator eggs in one of the nests. Then, researchers checked the nest a little over a month later and discovered only eight eggs remained. The researchers checked their camera's video and still images and discovered that two tegus had been removing up to two eggs a day from the nest. The next time researchers checked the nest, no eggs remained.

The researchers recently published a report about the tegus' activity and suggested that tegus be further evaluated as a threat to nesting reptiles in Florida.

The report said that Argentine black-and-white tegus are also established in Hillsborough and Polk counties.

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