SARASOTA, Fla. ( - A four-foot long lizard that a Sarasota man spotted outside his home shows how much of a problem invasive Tegu lizards have become.

Billy Baden caught the Tegu lizard behind his home in the Sherwood Forest neighborhood.

For the past month, Baden and his neighbors have seen the spotted lizard digging in yards and eating from homeowners' gardens.

Baden said the lizard even threatened his little dog.

After many unsuccessful attempts to capture the Tegu, Baden set up a trap in his backyard, and the animal was caught on Saturday.

A local trapper took the animal and euthanized it.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission says the Tegu is an invasive species that is native to South America.

FWC says the large reptiles threaten the local ecosystem and the animals have breeding populations in Miami-Dade, Polk and Hillsborough Counties.

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