Florida is ground zero for non-native species in the United States, with more than 500 species of exotic reptiles, birds, fish, amphibians, and mammal
Florida is ground zero for non-native species in the United States, with more than 500 species of exotic reptiles, birds, fish, amphibians, and mammals living and breeding in the wild.
If you live in Palm Beach County, Fla., and you want to help the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission deal with the invasive Nile monitor lizard (Varanus niloticus), you can do so by photographing and report any sightings of the lizard in your area.
The Nile monitor is native to Africa and have been reproducing in South Florida for years. Semi-aquatic, the lizards can grow to more than 5 feet in length and can weigh up to 40 pounds. They feed on a variety of small mammals, reptiles, fish, amphibians, and other smaller vertebrates.
How you can help:
- Take a picture of any Nile monitor sighting and immediately report it online toIveGot1.org or by phone at 888-Ive-Got1 (888-483-4681).
- If you own land in the identified area where this species lives, allow wildlife managers to survey or set traps on your property.
- Deter monitors from your property by cutting back vegetation, clearing debris and securing small pets.
For more information on non-native species in the Sunshine State, visit http://myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/nonnatives/
John B. Virata keeps a western hognose snake, a ball python, two corn snakes, a king snake, and two leopard geckos. His first snake, a California kingsnake, was purchased at the Pet Place in Westminster, CA for $5. His first pet reptile was a green anole that arrived in a small box via mail order. Follow him on Twitter @johnvirata