Posts Tagged ‘monitor lizards’

Since at least 2012, Florida residents have reported sightings of large lizards in neighborhoods that border canals and other waterways. The most persistent sightings, in late 2017, described an animal around 5 feet long (1.5 meters), drab green with white or yellow bands. It was thought to be a Water Monitor, but possibly a Nile or Savannah Monitor.

As reported in this news story, Florida wildlife officials stated that the lizard posed no risk to humans, but cats and small dogs could have been in danger if the animal got hungry. No one knew where such a creature could have come from. Perhaps it had escaped from captivity during one of the frequent hurricanes, or an irresponsible owner had released it into the wild.

The public was enlisted in an extensive effort to capture the potentially invasive reptile. People who spotted it were asked to take photos and give precise information on where and when they saw it. State wildlife officers then set traps around Key West in an effort to humanely capture the lizard. They did capture a smaller (2 ft long) Savannah Monitor, but the big guy remained at large. (Ha ha.)

Eventually the owner came forward to help with the search. Kevin Hennings explained that Poseidon, the Water Monitor, had indeed escaped his enclosure after Hurricane Irma damaged it. Once Poseidon was spotted, Hennings was able to approach and lure his pet with food. As of November 7, 2017, Poseidon had been returned home. Hennings planned to make improvements on his habitat and avoid a repeat of Poseidon’s big adventure.

Although this case ended happily, Florida is prime habitat for all sorts of tropical creatures. Wildlife officials have warned for years that other large reptiles are invading their state. Of particular concern are Boa Constrictors, which have established a permanent population and are wreaking havoc on the native wildlife. The state has  even begun having annual Boa Derbies to control the spread of these invaders.

It seems that it’s only a matter of time before they experience another dragon invasion.

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