News Releases

Report sightings of monitor lizards

News Release

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 surveys.

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 verified.           

"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 established."

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  

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.

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