Giant Lizards Humping Around in SoFla: FWC

Nile monitors eat just about anything, including pet dogs and cats

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    NEWSLETTERS

    FWC
    Two Nile monitors were spotted mating on a South Florida canal bank.

    Another gigantic lizard is bringing its talents to South Beach and we're not talking about Godzilla.

    The Nile monitor lizard, which can grow up to nine feet long and eats just about anything it can catch, has been rumored to be growing in number in South Florida for years.

    But wildlife officials said Tuesday a recent photo shows that the carnivorous reptiles are finding South Florida a quite cozy and even romantic new home.

    The picture, taken June 10, shows two large Nile monitors getting it on near a canal in West Palm Beach. Can you say get a room?

    Nine other monitors were spotted in the same area, including one that was caught inside someone's home after it climbed in through a doggie door, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials said.

    The recent sightings and photo are proof the Nile monitor might be thriving and already well on its way to a hostile takeover of the ecosystem.

    "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."

    As its name indicates, the Nile monitor's native territory is in Africa, but wildlife officials believe residents of South Florida who collect exotic animals as pets released the animals into the wild, either after the animals got too big or because they just didn't want the reptiles anymore.

    While chasing down the destructive lizards, wildlife officials are still trying to get a handle on the python population.

    The FWC asks the public to report sightings of Nile monitors to 888-IVE-GOT1 (888-483-4681).