Biologists Fear Exotic Lizard Could Tip Ecological Balance
OCALA, Fla. (AP) - Biologists worry that a new reptile found in the Ocala National Forest could tip the ecological balance.
An exotic lizard called a tegu is a 4-foot-long reptile from Argentina. Wildlife officials say it was likely left in the forest by an overwhelmed pet owner.
The tegu is known to go inside gopher-tortoise burrows and dig out mice and tortoise eggs. They are omnivorous and have a taste for native plants and small rodents, which are food for Florida snakes and raptors.
Biologist Carrie Sekerak says these reptiles are taking away a food source for those animals.
If more of these are found in the Ocala forest, biologists say it may be time to start eradication.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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