Attack of the Monitor Lizards

Posted on June 30th, 2011. Eric Roby

Living in South Florida you get used to the exotic animals that surround us. We may be lacking lightening bugs, but we do have cockroaches the size of smart cars. In addition to our cute lizards crawling around everywhere, we also have 12 foot alligators. Even local rivers and beaches are now dealing with the beautiful, but poisonous lion fish. I can get used to most creepy crawlies, but I draw the line at dragons!

It’s true. A small colony of nile monitor lizards have moved in along the banks of the C51 canal in West Palm Beach. These lizards (that are indigenous to Africa) are so big they are sometimes called dragons. They can grow up to 7 feet long and weigh hundreds of pounds. They have a vicious bite and can be very aggressive.

I checked state records and found a dozen or so have been found over the past year from Palm Beach International Airport to the Turnpike along Southern Boulevard.  A five footer was even caught inside of a screened in porch. The lizard got there by entering a doggie door.

The state is now trying to catch and kill off the breeding lizards. They’ve lost the battle in Cape Coral in Southwest Florida. A large colony is currently terrorizing that small town. The lizards are even breaking into foreclosed homes and breeding inside of them. Yes, the lizards are also breeding in West Palm Beach. I know because the state sent me a picture to prove it!

Most Floridians can take a lot when it comes to exotic animals. Boa constrictors moving into the Everglades and eating alligators is ok for most, but the idea of a monitor lizard moving in next door is not. Personally that’s where I have to draw a line.