Exotic tegu lizards breeding in Tampa Bay area

Invasive species may become an issue

RIVERVIEW, Fla. - The Tampa Bay area seems to be a fertile breeding ground for an exotic lizard that wildlife officials want to keep from becoming the state's next invasive species problem.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says that more than 100 black-and-white tegu lizards have been spotted in Hillsborough County, mostly in an area south of Riverview. The area is now considered home to one of three tegu breeding populations in the state.

In a Tampa Tribune article wildlife experts say that some native species may become competition or even prey for the lizards.

The lizards are native to South America, and they are an invasive species in Florida.

Officials say that many tegus once were pets or are descended from pets whose owners released them when they became unmanageable.

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