Saturday, April 5, 2014

Monitor Lizards in Florida

Yet another crazy critter to watch out for in the wilds of Interzone: not only do we have bears, panthers, pythons, monkeys, giant grasshoppers and giant snails, we have monitor lizards. Nile monitors, native to Africa, have somehow gained a foothold in our ecosystem and have been thriving in Florida since at least 1990.

On the eastern side of the state, the monitors seem to be concentrated in the area from Palm Beach through Miami, and then following down south into the keys, especially Key Largo. On the gulf side, their numbers are rapidly spreading outward from the Cape Coral area, including all nearby islands (Sanibel Island, Captiva Island, Pine Island, and Gasparilla Island) and as far north as Siesta Key and Sarasota.

Wild iguanas are also an increasing problem in Florida. Like the monitor lizards, they disrupt native species like birds, turtles and crocodiles by eating their eggs and competing for food. There are an estimated 10,000 feral iguanas on Boca Grande alone, and Lee County has spent over $100,000 trying to trap them. But you know how it is; once these invasive aliens start layin' their eggs in the primordial soup that is Florida, you might as well just throw up your hands and just watch and see how it all comes out.

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