When I’m involved, there is no typical day at the farm…and that goes for the invasive tegu at the 4-H Farm.
I’ve known for a while there was a problem with invasive Argentinian black and white tegu in the agricultural areas in western Fort Pierce. I attempted to trap them along Picos Road without success. It’s not uncommon to see them as roadkill on that same road. Surprisingly enough, observing roadkill is a type of unofficial wildlife monitoring that can give very helpful insight into the types of critters living in an area. Of course, I reported the tegu to ivegot1 which is a system for tracking invasive species in Florida.
It was brought to my attention that invasive Argentinian black and white tegu have been seen at the 4-H Farm. These lizards are voracious egg-eaters and were spotted fleeing from the goose and duck coop. While the ducks and geese are a little too big for them to eat, their eggs are perfect food for tegu. As with any pest control problem, accurate ID is the first step to management. I set up trail cameras and quickly verified them on site.
So what has been done? Reinforcing the fencing around the coops with hardware cloth is helping. Traps are baited with raw eggs. If you are struggling with tegu management, FWC has a website featuring management recommendations along with humane euthanizing requirements which can be found online HERE.
The UF/IFAS Extension St. Lucie County features a zoological education program at the 4-H Farm in rural western Ft. Pierce to teach youth about farm animals. This site is not open to the public. There are horses, a donkey, pigs, and other livestock at the 4-H Farm. Also at the farm are ducks, geese, chickens, quail, turkey in coops.
FWC Report nonnative wildlife. Report Sightings of Nonnative Species | FWC (myfwc.com)
Johnson, S., Garrity, M. Florida invader: tegu lizard. UF/IFAS EDIS WEC295/UW340: Florida Invader: Tegu Lizard (ufl.edu)
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