South Carolina Pushes Through Sweeping Ban On All Tegu Lizards


South Carolina has just enacted a comprehensive measure aimed at restricting the importation of black and white tegu lizards into the state. The move comes in response to concerns about the impact of these reptiles on the local ecosystem and native wildlife.

In a statement released by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, it was emphasized that this regulation was developed because South Carolina’s environment and climate are conducive to tegu lizards’ thriving. Tegus have demonstrated their ability to compete with, and sometimes surpass, native species in resource competition. They have been observed preying on various native species, including quail and the endangered gopher tortoise, as well as consuming insects, mammals, other reptiles, amphibians, birds, and the eggs of birds and reptiles. Furthermore, tegus may carry and transmit nonindigenous parasites and pathogens to the state’s native wildlife.

For individuals currently in possession of these lizards, the state now mandates the following actions:

  1. Microchipping your lizard at a local veterinary clinic.
  2. Completing an application for possession of restricted non-native wildlife.
  3. Submitting your application to [email protected] and awaiting permit approval.

Additionally, the new regulation stipulates that black and white tegus must be kept in indoor enclosures that are escape-proof. If they are housed outdoors, these enclosures must feature locking mechanisms and primary and secondary containment barriers, all designed to prevent any possibility of escape. These measures are being implemented to safeguard South Carolina’s native ecosystems and maintain the balance of its wildlife populations.

What do you think about the changes?