Out There: Tegu Lizards

By Grant Rice,
Last Updated: Tuesday, January 03, 2017, 12:08 PM EST

Tegus are omnivorous reptiles that inhabit tropical rain forests, savannas and semi-deserts of east and central South America. These foreign lizards have invaded south Florida and have been listed as an invasive exotic species making it legal to kill these animals on sight. The population of tegus came about when the owner of a large breeding operation released his stock into the wild prior to 2005. Since their release they have been thriving and reproducing in south Florida because the natural environment there is ideal for many non-native reptiles like tegus, pythons, monitors, caiman and others. Living in the wild, they take advantage of the abundant food supply which, unfortunately, includes many of our native species.

There are even eradication programs already in place for some non-natives like the burmese python.Thankfully there are people like Rodney Irwin who have found a more humane way of dealing with the problem of the tegus without having to needlessly kill them. Rodney is a licensed trapper for the state of Florida who specializes in the removal of non-native species like the tegu. He feels a great deal of satisfaction knowing that the tegus he captures will not be euthanized as part of an eradication program.

He traps and then sells the tegus as pets, which is a win-win for both the tegu and our native species. Tegus have unusually high intelligence and actually make great pets. They have even been observed and recorded that some will regularly and clearly seek out human affection.They have the capability of forming a strong attachment to their keeper, some have even been reported to come on command. There are even reports of people being successfull in house-breaking their tegu.

Adult males can grow to lengths of 4 to 4.5 feet while females can reach up to 3 feet. They typically live around 15 to 20 years in the wild and possibly even longer in captivity.

You can get a tegu as your own personal pet today, just visit Rodey's website Tegus Only or give him a call at 305-772-​8140. Help protect our native species and adopt one of these beautiful reptiles!

Be sure to catch every Out There and Average Angler segment by tuning in near the :23s and :53s each hour during 'Your Sports' airing daily with new episodes starting at 6 nightly, exclusively on Spectrum Sports HD 1147!