Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC)
Internship with Tessie Offner, Invasive Species Biologist
Intern: Kayla Williams
Tegu Dissection day 2 (September) at FWC southwest region office in Lakeland.
Tessie Offner(second from left), Kayla Williams(middle in front), Brendan O’Connor the volunteer coordinator for the southwest region (far right).
Tegu dissection day 2 (September) at Lakeland FWC office. Removing the gut of the tegus for further study about their diet.
The lab at the Lakeland FWC office that we use to do the gut content analysis of the tegus. We pull out the contents and identify the contents as much as possible before sending them to University of Florida for a more in-depth analysis.
Florida - AQShning jan. qismidagi shtat. Florida ya.o., materikning unga yondosh qismi va FloridaKis o.larida. Maydoni 152 ming km². Axrlisi 16,7 mln. kishi (2002). Shahar aholisi 85%. Maʼmuriy markazi - Tallaxassi shahri, eng yirik sanoat shahri - Jeksonvill.
A very important discovery is these Asian swamp eels that we found in the gut analysis. The swamp eels are invasive to Florida and have never been reported this far north. The area where the tegu was captured (Parrish, FL) is very far from the range that these eels have been living. So either the tegu traveled north from that area or the eels have moved northward because of recent heavy rain (august and September rains).
A large field of palmetto behind RVR Horse rescue where we commonly visit because of tegu presence in the area. We have captured over 25 tegus just from this property.
Tessie and I placed wildlife cameras throughout the area near places of interest like this double gopher tortoise burrow. We monitor the cameras for tegus and this helps us decide where to place traps in the future.
We change the memory cards and batteries regularly to keep these cameras rolling at all times.
We trap for tegus during their active months (march-august) using a raw chicken egg as bait. During the other half of the year they go into brumation and hide in one place until winter passes. We check the traps daily in hopes of finding a tegu in our cage like the one shown here. Once captured, we humanely euthanize them so that we can perform research on them. During the fall and winter months, the tegus do not appear at all. We believe they live primarily underground in tortoise burrows or underneath thick vegetation or manmade structures. To test this theory we performed burrow scoping in January and February in preserves where they are prevalent. We did not see any lizards within the Tortoise burrows after scoping over fifty different burrows, so they must be hiding elsewhere during the winter months.
The gorgeous FWC truck that Tessie and I drive into the wilderness to get to remote areas where we trap. It is our workplace a lot of the time because we use it to deal with wildlife cameras, traps and responding to calls from the public.
Often we will catch animals that we did not intend to catch. When we do catch something that is not a tegu, we carefully release the animal back into the wild. To prevent bycatch in the traps, we open the traps in the morning and close them in the evening since Tegu’s are only active during the day.
Above is a compiled map of the tegu sightings and captures in Riverview as of Aug 2014. Tessie and I use EDDMaps and ARCGIS to mark trap locations, track locations and property borders through our research.