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New SC regulations will ban tegus

New regulations that went into effect Friday, May 28, ban non-native Argentine black and white tegus from being brought into South Carolina or reproduced, and will also require current tegu owners to register their reptiles with the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR).

The Argentine black and white tegu, a popular reptile in the pet trade, has been introduced and established in the wild in areas outside of its native South American range, including Georgia and Florida. The invasive species has also been documented in numerous counties in South Carolina, which is joining Florida and Alabama in banning the reptiles.

“Tegus are predatory lizards, and they have been known to eat a variety of native species, such as quail and gopher tortoises, which are an endangered species in South Carolina,” SCDNR Assistant Chief of Wildlife Will Dillman said in a release. “These regulations are aimed at stopping the proliferation of tegus before they are able to establish and do real damage in our state.”

Pet owners who currently have tegus will be required to register them with SCDNR by Sept. 25. After this date, no unregistered tegus may be possessed, and no tegus may be bought, sold, traded or brought into South Carolina.

Tegus have gained popularity in the pet trade, according to Dillman, due to their large size, intelligence, docile nature and hardiness.

Change coming at the pump

For the fifth consecutive year, South Carolina’s Motor Fuel User Fee, which helps support road, bridge, and infrastructure construction in South Carolina, will increase from $0.24 to $0.26 per gallon beginning July 1.

The increase is part of the South Carolina Infrastructure and Economic Development Reform Act passed by the General Assembly in 2017, which raises the fee by $0.02 each July until 2022.

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