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Controlling the Exotic, Black and White Argentine Tegu Lizard

Making It Grow Radio Minute
SC Public Radio

From being “cute” little nine-inch babies, the exotic black and white Argentine tegu lizards can grow to five feet long – which led to many owners in the past just letting them loose. They can survive our winters and reproduce– they’re omnivores and have no trouble finding plenty to eat. It’s now illegal to purchase or sell them in South Carolina, or to let them loose. As they are not protected, you can catch them in traps, and, if you live where it is legal to discharge a firearm, you can shoot them. Any of these lizards you kill, capture or find dead should be reported to DNR as they perform necropsies on them to get valuable information about just what animals they’re eating and to check for parasites and diseases they may spread.

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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.