Report sightings of monitor lizards
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Media contact: Gabriella B. Ferraro, 772-215-9459
Sightings of monitor lizards in Broward and Palm Beach counties
have increased this summer, prompting biologists with the Exotic
Species Coordination Section of the Florida Fish and Wildlife
Conservation Commission (FWC) and others to begin surveying and
trapping efforts. The primary area of concern is the C-51 canal
along Southern Boulevard in West Palm Beach.
Nine Nile monitors have been seen in recent surveys of the area.
One was trapped, and a second monitor, 5 feet in length, was
removed from a homeowner's screened patio last week after gaining
access through a doggie door. Both reptiles were euthanized.
The FWC is working with the South Florida Water Management
District, which manages the canal, to monitor traps and conduct
Several species of monitor lizards have been reported more
sporadically in central Broward County but not all have been Nile
monitors and not all could be
"This is a high-priority species for us," said Scott Hardin,
coordinator of the FWC's Exotic Species Coordination Section. "We
plan to go after them aggressively to either try to eradicate them
or suppress their numbers if they are determined to be
The FWC asks the public to report sightings of Nile monitors to
888-IVE-GOT1 (888-483-4681). The hotline has been set up by the
Nature Conservancy and Everglades National Park in cooperation with
the FWC. The public may also report sightings and upload photos on
the Web at www.IveGot1.org.
Monitor lizards may exceed 7 feet in length and are known to be
very defensive when cornered, so the FWC discourages attempts to
capture the lizards. They are known to be more active during the
hot summer months, explaining why reports have increased.
Nile monitors are large, predatory lizards native to Africa.
This species nests around water, and the FWC is concerned about
potential predation in bird rookeries. A population of Nile
monitors is established in an area of Cape Coral, on the southwest
coast of Florida.