FULTON COUNTY, Ga. (CBS46) -- “Very vicious and can bite real hard,” said Mark Mandica Founder, Executive Director The Amphibian Foundation Atlanta. The bite in question coming from the Tegus lizard native to Argentina and invading Georgia.
“They have very sharp teeth and really powerful jaws so they can bite down with a lot of force,” said Mark who's group is called to help capture any Tegus found in the wild.
The lizards can grow up to 4-feet long. They have established themselves in counties along the boarder with Florida.
CBS46 reporter Jamie Kennedy can reveal that the lizards have been captured in Kirkwood and other Atlanta neighborhoods.
“We got a call, Tegus was in a chicken coup right here in Atlanta. We went and it was eating the eggs in the chicken coup,” said Mark who kept the lizard and is now the family pet.
The Tegus lizard is well adapted to Atlanta gardens and is even at home in the Georgia winter.
The Amphbian Foundation tells CBS46 a total of three lizards have been caught in the city, the latest on May 15 coming from Lawrenceville. The owner was just a short time away from releasing the reptile into the wild, which could have been devastating for the state.
“They could have a significant impact on all sorts of wildlife,” said Mark.
If that wasn’t enough, people have been posting possible sightings of invasive giant Asian wasps nicknamed murder hornets.
A study reports Japan experiences 30 to 50 deaths a year from the hornets. So far no agency has confirmed the insects outside of Washington state.
For now, you only need to be on the lookout for that 4-foot black and white lizard.
“I would not approach one without the gear to do so safely,” said Mark.
The group believe the lizards captured in Atlanta are released pets which have the ability to breed rapidly in large quantities.
Releasing them is illegal.
If you do see one, the Georgia Department of Wildlife asks you report it straight away.