The Tegu Task Force operates through our licensed rescue program, and offers assistance to those who encounter exotic reptiles in the wild that are not native to Georgia. Our volunteers are here to humanely contain the animal and place it within our adoption program, after evaluating the animal for any veterinary needs.

What does the Task Force do?

Member, Kathy Smith, with a Tegu and Iguana

The Task Force consists of volunteers who help to contain invasive reptiles and place them humanely into our adoption program. The Georgia Reptile Society Adoptions & Rescue program is licensed through the Georgia Department of Agriculture. When the animal is contained, it is evaluated for necessary veterinary care, and kept in a foster home until the animal is deemed suitable for adoption. Animals are placed in education programs and facilities, or with responsible families as a pet.

What is a tegu, and why are they considered "invasive"?

A Tegu Lizard eating Blueberries

Tegus are a group of lizards from South America that can grow up to 5 feet in length, and are omnivorous. They are also able to withstand large changes in temperature, and are able to survive in many climates. The Georgia Reptile Society has been utilizing tegus in their education outreach programs since their founding in 2012, and have many members who keep these animals as members of their families safely and responsibly. Recently, Tegus have made headlines as there is evidence that certain populations are in the wild and causing harm to Georgia's native species, such as Gopher Tortoises. It is important that we help mitigate their impact and bring them back into captive environments, and continue to educate the public about responsible pet ownership. The Georgia Reptile Society does not promote harming wildlife (native or invasive), unless controlled by sustainable agriculture or official efforts through organizations such as the Department of Natural Resources.

What do I do if I encounter a reptile in the wild?

Unless you have been trained to handle or capture wildlife, we always recommend leaving the animal alone. If you suspect the animal is not native and should be removed, please contact us by sending an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . We will be able to identify the animal and can recommend next steps.

How do I report an animal?

Send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with a photo of the animal, and your location. We will identify the animal and recommend next steps, if needed. If the animal is native, we usually will recommend it is left alone. However, if it is not native, we will contact you as soon as possible to help contain the animal and place it into our adoption program. If you have an animal in your possession that you would like to release to the adoption program, please visit our adoptions portal at adoptions.gareptilesociety.org.