FWC Warns of Exotic Lizards on the Loose - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

FWC Warns of Exotic Lizards on the Loose

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The Florida Fish and Wild Life Conservation Commission is asking for your help spotting exotic lizards possibly in the area off of East Avenue north of 15th Street. The Tegu lizard can be rather large and possibly dangerous.

Tegus are not indigenous to our area, rather these were brought here by a breeder. Thirty-three have been caught, but more could still be on the loose.

For Chala Roberson, who lives on the property where the breeder abandoned the Tegus, this was a very unsettling situation.

"I was very scared they were very creepy looking. They were something I've never seen before. They were very big. Big jawed. Big bodied. They looked like they could eat your hand off," says Roberson.

The breeder had moved while these large lizards were hibernating. "The guy was supposed to come back and get them and them. He kind of never did," says Roberson.

When the weather gets warm, this black and white lizard with banding on the tail, comes out of hibernation.

"They have very powerful jaws, teeth. If a person grabbed one of these and didn't know what they were doing, they could be injured," says Stan Kirkland with FWC.

Tegus eat everything from fruits and vegetables to eggs and even small animals. They can get up to 4ft long and weigh around 30 pounds.

If you do see a Tegu you are urged to call the Exotic Species Hotline at 888-483-4681.

This is a criminal investigation and the breeder could be facing first degree misdemeanor charges.