3-foot tegu lizard found living under Georgia woman's porch

An Athens, Ga., woman discovered a 3-foot tegu lizard was living under her porch. Photo by tomfotografo2750/Pixabay.com

Nov. 1 (UPI) -- Wildlife officials in Georgia said a woman was unaware of a 3-foot tegu lizard living under her porch until neighborhood children told her about a "giant lizard."

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources said in a news release that the Athens resident was told by some kids they had seen a "giant lizard" in her yard, and she discovered exactly that living under her porch.

The lizard, identified as an Argentine black and white tegu, an exotic species that can grow up to 4 feet long.

The tegu was captured and turned over to the DNR, which said it has been unable to locate the animal's owner.

"This is definitely an example of why we need to regulate these species," Brett Albanese of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources said in the news release.

"They can be difficult to keep and as they grow their owners may not want to care for them or be able to afford to."

A new rule set to take effect in Georgia in December requires owners of tegu lizards and five other reptile species to tag and register their pets.