A Nile Monitor lizard awaits its fate after capture. Nile Monitors were originally brought to this country from their native habitats in southern and central Africa as part of the exotic pet trade. They have long been available in Florida pet stores, thanks to liberal State laws concerning the importation of exotic species. Their introduction into the wild is most likely due to escapes or intentional releases by owners who could no longer handle them. Known for their sharp teeth and bad tempers, Nile Monitors may grow to over seven feet long and are excellent swimmers.
In the early 1990s, reports started surfacing concerning the sightings of gigantic, monster-sized lizards in the Cape Coral area, a burgeoning development community of 400 square miles of waterways, home sites, and undeveloped land.
Monitors eat birds, turtles, and reptiles but analysis of the stomach contents of trapped lizards showed that they also feed on dogs and cats.
New regulations were passed in Florida in June 2010 that ban some species from ownership including the Nile monitor lizard as well as the Burmese/Indian python, reticulated python, green anaconda, and African rock python.
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