Sarasota man finds 4-ft-long Tegu lizard - WHLT 22 Connecting the Pine Belt

Sarasota man finds 4-ft-long Tegu lizard

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Billy Baden caught a Tegu lizard behind his home. Billy Baden caught a Tegu lizard behind his home.
Billy Baden caught a Tegu lizard behind his home. Billy Baden caught a Tegu lizard behind his home.
Billy Baden caught a Tegu lizard behind his home. Billy Baden caught a Tegu lizard behind his home.
SARASOTA, FL (WFLA) -

A four-foot long lizard that a Sarasota man spotted outside his home shows how much of a problem invasive Tegu lizards have become.

Billy Baden caught the Tegu lizard behind his home in the Sherwood Forest neighborhood.

For the past month, Baden and his neighbors have seen the spotted lizard digging in yards and eating from homeowners' gardens.

Baden said the lizard even threatened his little dog.

After many unsuccessful attempts to capture the Tegu, Baden set up a trap in his backyard, and the animal was caught on Saturday.

A local trapper took the animal and euthanized it.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission says the Tegu is an invasive species that is native to South America.

FWC says the large reptiles threaten the local ecosystem and the animals have breeding populations in Miami-Dade, Polk and Hillsborough Counties.

The animals are sold legally in pet stores, but officials say some owners may have released them into the wild.

FWC officers are now scrambling to contain the species and prevent them from spreading further around the state.

Wildlife officials say if spot a tegu lizard, you should take a picture, note the location and notify FWC. The FWC does not recommend you try to capture the animal.

FWC's exotic species reporting hotline is 1-888-Ive-Got1.

Copyright 2014 WFLA. All rights reserved.

 

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