US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — Civilian officials and representatives of conservation groups this week turned Georgia residents requesting assistance in tackling the Argentinean black and white tag ( Tupinambis merianae ), reports National Geographic.
This species, as the name implies, is from South America. In addition to Argentina, tegu lives in Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and other Latin American countries. These reptiles can reach 1-1.5 meters in length and live up to 15-20 years.
According to the Orianne Society, many U.S. residents have chosen the tag as pets.
However, some of the reptiles escaped, while others were released by the owners to freedom. It turned out that the tag easily adapt to the conditions of the American climate and are able to actively reproduce. As a result, they spread across Florida and ended up in two Georgia counties.
Daegu are unpretentious to food: they eat fruits, pet food, and also actively destroy the eggs of birds and other animals nesting on the ground. The Orianne Society notes that the tag threatened species such as gopher turtles ( Gopherus ) and the eastern indigo snake ( Drymarchon couperi ).
“Colder winters in Georgia have often been put forward as a potential barrier to many of the state’s invasive reptiles. Nevertheless, three years of trapping convincingly indicate that the tag is able to survive the cold winter in Georgia,” Orianne Society.
Conservation organizations note that tag has great potential for rapid distribution throughout the state. These reptiles can lay about 35 eggs per year and, at the same time, have almost no natural enemies.
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources called on residents to report the tag to the agency. In addition, the organization noted that it was not against the destruction of these animals directly by citizens.
“Since the tag is an invasive species, people can kill them on private property if necessary. If you can handle this safely and humanely, then we encourage it and also want you to share this information,” Georgia Department of Natural Resources.
The Orianne Society put it more bluntly: “Anyone seen in Georgia can and should be shot on the spot.”
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