It's here and its not playing nice with our local wildlife. As reported in the Miami Herald, 6/27/14: Invasive tegu lizards could affect Florida’s environment, by Janey Fugate, The exotic animal trade has once again brought a potential threat to Florida’s native species. Large, scaly and voracious, the black and white tegu lizards endanger the population of alligators, crocodiles and turtles with their hunger for eggs.
This evidence of their harmful activity was published as part of a new research study performed by a team of scientists from the University of Florida, the U.S. Geological Survey and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, published this month.
FWC officials have asked Florida residents to report sightings of tegus to the exotic species hotline at 888-483-4861 and, if possible, to take a photo.
What can you do? Are you interested in assisting the FWC in locating these pests? No one is suggesting that you should go out on a hunt (I have set a new goal – Certified Python Hunter. Let’s join in the Hunt! Palmetto Bay has recently offered up fertile ground for such a hunt), but here is how you can pass on what you observe if you happen to run into any (information taken from the official FWC web site). You never know as I ran into a non-native recently in City Place in West Palm Beach.
Reporting by phone : You can call the FWC’s Exotic Species Hotline at 888-IVE-GOT1 (888- 483-4681). The hotline is answered part-time by a live operator and has a voicemail system that will prompt you for information about your sighting and your contact information if the operator is unable to answer the call.
Reporting with a smart phone : The University of Georgia’s Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health has developed free smart phone apps for both iPhone and Android phones. These are available at the appropriate app store by searching for ivegot1.
Reporting online : You can use the web form at IveGot1.org External Website to report. The form will prompt you for the information and has a map where you can select the location if you do not have the GPS coordinates. You will need to create a free account the first time you report a sighting online.
Sending photographs : If you have trouble attaching photos to the IveGot1 online form or smart phone apps, you can send them to ExoticReports@myfwc.com.
CLICK HERE to view the complete information regarding downloading the app or how to otherwise assist in the effort posted on the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) website.