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Exotic, Non-Native Reptiles as Pets - Not Always Good for the Environment

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The demand for pets has increased dramatically during the pandemic as those of us who have been fortunate enough to work safely from home have missed the company and interaction of co-workers. I am thinking about getting a puppy, fathered by the best dog in the whole wide world, Clovis Marsh, and English Springer Spaniel, who lives with our former neighbors, and whom we were fortunate enough to baby sit for on many occasions. I think of pets as being cuddly, so dogs and cats are what come to my mind although I know people who have unusual pets; my brother had a corn snake for years and some people like hamsters or mice. But exotic non-native reptiles, especially lizards, are very popular and one has become a serious threat to our native wildlife in South Carolina: the Argentine Black and White Tegu.

Amanda McNulty is a Clemson University Extension Horticulture agent and the host of South Carolina ETV’s Making It Grow! gardening program. She studied horticulture at Clemson University as a non-traditional student. “I’m so fortunate that my early attempts at getting a degree got side tracked as I’m a lot better at getting dirty in the garden than practicing diplomacy!” McNulty also studied at South Carolina State University and earned a graduate degree in teaching there.