Yet another invasive species

Ol MuckyOl Mucky Posts: 5,476 Admiral
Lithia, Florida -- Today we'll learn more about big lizards creating a big problem in Hillsborough County. They're invaders from South America and they're spreading.

These huge reptiles are an endangered species' worst enemy: they love to eat birds, small animals, and -- most of all -- eggs.

The state's wildlife experts are going to talk Tuesday at Lithia Springs Park about their plan to stop them from becoming the next invasive species nightmare here in Florida.

See Also: Exotic Tegu lizards spotted in FL neighborhood

The Tegu lizards are originally from South America.

But the ones eating up endangered species here in Tampa Bay came from escaped or released pets.

People have spotted them more than 100 times around the Balm-Boyette Scrub Preserve and Lithia Springs Park in an area near Riverview, Lithia, and FishHawk Ranch.

How would you like to run into one of these guys roaming through your yard, looking for a meal?

They can get up to four feet long. They eat almost anything. They can swim. And they're breeding in Hillsborough and Polk counties.

These lizards are coming out of hibernation right now and they'll be hungry.

So Florida Fish and Wildlife will be talking Tuesday about how to keep them from wiping out native Florida animals and spreading across the state.

If you see one of the black-and-white lizards, what should you do?

First, don't grab them or try to catch them by hand; they can hurt you. Instead, hire a professional trapper.

Then visit the invasive species reporting website for Florida, use the invasive species smartphone app, or call 888-IVE-GOT-1 to report the sighting. Reporting it helps the state track the spread of the animals.

Also, don't leave cat or dog food outside. Wildlife experts say anything that may attract a cat, dog, or raccoon to your yard -- can attract a four-foot-long lizard.
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Replies

  • flydownflydown Posts: 6,462 Admiral
    I will always say that there should be a law (Like we need more laws) but, all non indigenous exotic animals, brought into our country as pets, should be sterile.
    DYING for me was the most HE could do. LIVING for HIM is the least I can do
  • huntmstrhuntmstr Posts: 6,285 Admiral
    I would not go that far, John. Breeding is a legitimate business and breeders should be able to make a living domestically without having to import these animals. Breeders should also have to apply for permits which are difficult to qualify for and be heavily regulated and monitored.

    However, I would suggest that all non-native, invasive animals SOLD AS PETS should be sterilized before being sold to the consumer. That way, if one of these irresponsible pet owners has an animal escape or decides to release it for whatever reason, the darn things can't proliferate in the wild or cross-breed with any native species.
    Bushnell, Primos and Final Approach Pro Staff. Proud member of the Fab Five, Big Leaugers and Bobble Head 4.

    I had you pissed off at hello.
  • flydownflydown Posts: 6,462 Admiral
    Sorry, Chuck. I don't share your view. There are plenty of things for the breeders to do to make a living besides breeding invasive species of animals to sell to irresponsible people. To quote the infamous Judge Smails, "The world needs ditch diggers, too!"
    DYING for me was the most HE could do. LIVING for HIM is the least I can do
  • AllenRAllenR Posts: 2,699 Captain
    If I want a 16' anaconda, that's my business
  • Ol MuckyOl Mucky Posts: 5,476 Admiral
    I would think (because I have) whats the attraction to having something like this as a pet anyways? They eat and crap like the other reptiles. The exotics don't appeal to me really. Daggum corn snakes are pretty neat, colorful native species. Green anoles eat live stuff, and they are petty neat to look at.
    Just seems a breeder could have these and sell them just as easy (not everyone can go out and catch a pet).

    I'm def not big on the imports.
    I have a much bigger and more powerful button
  • Reel TealReel Teal Posts: 2,854 Captain
    What are they gonna do with it after trapping it? Are these like the iguanas? .223 works better than a trap.....
  • Panhandler80Panhandler80 Posts: 7,833 Moderator
    huntmstr wrote: »
    I would not go that far, John. Breeding is a legitimate business and breeders should be able to make a living domestically without having to import these animals. Breeders should also have to apply for permits which are difficult to qualify for and be heavily regulated and monitored.

    However, I would suggest that all non-native, invasive animals SOLD AS PETS should be sterilized before being sold to the consumer. That way, if one of these irresponsible pet owners has an animal escape or decides to release it for whatever reason, the darn things can't proliferate in the wild or cross-breed with any native species.

    Florida Exotic Pet Enforcement Agency. FEPEA.

    Will FEPEA have the same authority as EPA,.FWC, DEP, NOAA, TSA, HLC? That's what I want. I want another armed bureaucratic branch that can come search my house to in case they need to strictly regulate ANYTHING that I might be doing wrong.

    Not sure what the answer here is, but its not additional strict regulation.

    Oh and an open season on the things for now. Air guns in city limit by non felon over.18 okay. Hell I'm sure they are tasty. And the hide must be worth something. LET US take care of problem and maybe have fun / make a dollar or two in process. Oh wait.... The flesh and hide would I'm sure be strictly regulated, thereby making it not fun and impossible to sell. Ymmv.... Strict regulation.
    "Whatcha doin' in my waters?"
  • huntmstrhuntmstr Posts: 6,285 Admiral
    AllenR wrote: »
    If I want a 16' anaconda, that's my business

    That's a heck of softball just waiting to be crushed out of the park... :rotflmao
    Bushnell, Primos and Final Approach Pro Staff. Proud member of the Fab Five, Big Leaugers and Bobble Head 4.

    I had you pissed off at hello.
  • huntmstrhuntmstr Posts: 6,285 Admiral
    Blair, there wouldn't need to be any new bureaucracy. FWC is already tasked with this job.
    Bushnell, Primos and Final Approach Pro Staff. Proud member of the Fab Five, Big Leaugers and Bobble Head 4.

    I had you pissed off at hello.
  • flydownflydown Posts: 6,462 Admiral
    You want a snake dead, cut it off at the head. Period. Al's 16' long Anaconda notwithstanding..
    DYING for me was the most HE could do. LIVING for HIM is the least I can do
  • Reel TealReel Teal Posts: 2,854 Captain
    huntmstr wrote: »
    Blair, there wouldn't need to be any new bureaucracy. FWC is already tasked with this job.


    :Spittingcoffee
  • GRIZZLGRIZZL Posts: 726 Officer
    flydown wrote: »
    I will always say that there should be a law (Like we need more laws) but, all non indigenous exotic animals, brought into our country as pets, should be sterile.

    I used to buy them but no more, agree there should be limitations and imbedded tagging as to ID the owner(s) if they escape....but ALLOT of animals get here through our ports in/on shipping containers..it's a global world now and it's evolving..can't stop it now. Look at Hawaii and the brown snake...

    Ya can't stop evolution when there are NO natural boundaries as the ocean once was
  • flydownflydown Posts: 6,462 Admiral
    I agree to a point with your point about them stowing away on container ships, Grizz. We'll never completely control that. But we can control the main culprit. Non indigenous species bought as pets and then released, rather than extinguished, when the owner tires of caring for them.
    DYING for me was the most HE could do. LIVING for HIM is the least I can do
  • Ol MuckyOl Mucky Posts: 5,476 Admiral
    flydown wrote: »
    I agree to a point with your point about them stowing away on container ships, Grizz. We'll never completely control that. But we can control the main culprit. Non indigenous species bought as pets and then released, rather than extinguished, when the owner tires of caring for them.
    speaking of which.....have u seen how many and how far up the bay the asian mussels are now!

    Wow. Hope to gosh its too cold for them to move up and colonize CR, Applach...etc.
    I have a much bigger and more powerful button
  • Turner River TerrorTurner River Terror Posts: 5,369 Admiral
    We've had Iguanas down here in Marco Island for years. City hired a Trapper and he took a bunch out but that Snook Killin Freeze really wiped them out.
    I been looking for a good size one for a couple years now.
    Mighty Tasty on the Grill.
    Killin and Grillin :grin
  • binellishtrbinellishtr Posts: 7,662 Admiral
    i shoot them regulary, they avoid my house garden at all costs. During the freeze as they dropped out of the trees we smacked their heads to make sure they were dead.
  • DONY 1DONY 1 Posts: 557 Officer
    There's a spot down in Florida City that is flat covered up with Tegu's. On any given day you can drive around and are almost guaranteed to see at least one.
    Don't cost nuttin to be nice
  • AllenRAllenR Posts: 2,699 Captain
    The media is blowing this out of proportion. Listening to the news about it on the radio, it sounds as if you step out of your car, you are going to get eaten by a Tegu
  • Skunk ApeSkunk Ape Posts: 3,848 Captain
    Maybe they can release a non - native venomous snake that will eat them.
  • Reel TealReel Teal Posts: 2,854 Captain
    AllenR wrote: »
    The media is blowing this out of proportion. Listening to the news about it on the radio, it sounds as if you step out of your car, you are going to get eaten by a Tegu

    But bears and panthers are afraid of us.....lol
  • reel stamasreel stamas Posts: 6,153 Admiral
    Seems to me we should have enough experience now to realize that allowing importation of Non-Sterile Invasive Species is a BAD idea...
    There should be NO Commercial Fishing for any fish species considered 'Over-fished' , 'Undergoing Overfishing' or Subject to Recreational Seasons, Limits, or Closures... Game Fish Status IS the Answer !!!
  • swamphunterswamphunter Posts: 179 Officer
    I wish they would let go of a bunch of axis deer that would be nice.... Hearing the splish splash splish splash here comes a buck hollyyyyyyyyyy sh********* its an axis lolol talk about buck fever!!!!
  • flydownflydown Posts: 6,462 Admiral
    Seems to me we should have enough experience now to realize that allowing importation of Non-Sterile Invasive Species is a BAD idea...

    ^^^
    DYING for me was the most HE could do. LIVING for HIM is the least I can do
  • ApexApex Posts: 33 Deckhand
    You guys are blowing this tegu thing way out of proportion. Fire ants and house cats do far more harm to native animals than all of the invasive reptiles in Florida combined.
  • flydownflydown Posts: 6,462 Admiral
    Apex wrote: »
    You guys are blowing this tegu thing way out of proportion. Fire ants and house cats do far more harm to native animals than all of the invasive reptiles in Florida combined.

    Maybe, but my tax dollars aren't being wasted trying to eradicate them.
    And my point was not just about the latest species of lizard. It's about all non-indigenous animals brought into this country.
    DYING for me was the most HE could do. LIVING for HIM is the least I can do
  • Reel TealReel Teal Posts: 2,854 Captain
    Apex wrote: »
    You guys are blowing this tegu thing way out of proportion. Fire ants and house cats do far more harm to native animals than all of the invasive reptiles in Florida combined.

    Weve got animal services trying to track down loose animals. So we're attempting to fix our feral pet problem. We have fire ant killer at home depot....so since weve tried to take care of those 2, but youre saying we shouldn't with this?

    Or are youre a proponent of invasive species because cats and fire ants are in your neighborhood? In order for something to be fixed you have to do something.
  • james 14james 14 Posts: 2,868 Moderator
    AllenR wrote: »
    The media is blowing this out of proportion. Listening to the news about it on the radio, it sounds as if you step out of your car, you are going to get eaten by a Tegu


    I heard about it at least 4 different times on my drive to work this morning. If one makes his way into my yard he's getting either a .22 or 9mm to the head depending what's closest. I'd do the same to the feral cats running around in my backyard if I could keep my wife/MIL from finding out.
  • flydownflydown Posts: 6,462 Admiral
    james 14 wrote: »
    I heard about it at least 4 different times on my drive to work this morning. If one makes his way into my yard he's getting either a .22 or 9mm to the head depending what's closest. I'd do the same to the feral cats running around in my backyard if I could keep my wife/MIL from finding out.

    This might help you out, James..

    My buddy came up with an excellent solution for the feral cat problem he has. He baits a raccoon trap with a fresh bream he catches at the local lake and puts it outside his garage at night. He usually catches a cat per night. After capture, he puts them through what he calls "Kitty Kar Wash"
    I mean, all feral cats deserve a nice bath, right??

    Here's how it works..

    With the cat securely sequestered in the trap and not happy about it, my buddy takes his garden hose with a high pressure nozzle and gives each cat a thorough rinsing before releasing them. He says they get a little bit mad and basically do a fine impersonation of a Tasmanian Devil when the water hits them. I imagine they are not real about getting a high-pressure bath, and once released, he rarely sees the same cat twice.

    Something to consider..
    DYING for me was the most HE could do. LIVING for HIM is the least I can do
  • AllenRAllenR Posts: 2,699 Captain
    I've caught my neighbors cat 5 times in the last month
  • Reel TealReel Teal Posts: 2,854 Captain
    Thats a dumb neighbor/cat combo
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