Photos available on the FWC’s Flickr site: https://www.flickr.com/gp/myfwcmedia/49d35Z
FWC photo by Eric Suarez.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has captured a nonnative Asian water monitor lizard in Davie. This lizard, an escaped pet, was first reported loose in the area in late August. The FWC worked closely with the Davie Police Department and residents to capture the reptile, which measured over 8 feet in length.
On Monday, Nov. 5, the FWC’s Exotic Species Hotline received a call from a homeowner who reported that he had frequently seen a large monitor-like lizard on his property around midday. Biologists responded to the property shortly before noon on Tuesday and were able to capture the animal.
The lizard will be returned to its owner, who was issued a criminal citation for the escape under Rule 68A-6.0023 of the Florida Administrative Code. Permits are not required to possess water monitor lizards as personal pets, but owners must meet caging requirements. An inspection was completed to ensure the owner has appropriate caging in place for the animal.
“In this instance, the pet owner came forward and provided us with tips about the animal’s behavior that ultimately helped our biologists capture it,” said Sarah Funck, FWC’s Nonnative Fish and Wildlife Program coordinator. “If you have information about a priority species, such as a monitor lizard or a python that is loose in the wild, it is critical you immediately relay this information to the FWC so we are able to respond as quickly as possible.”
Sightings of nonnative species, like the Asian water monitor lizard, can be reported through the IveGot1 app, at IveGot1.org, or via the FWC’s Exotic Species Hotline 1-888-IVE-GOT1 (1-888-483-4681).
It is illegal to release nonnative species in Florida, so remember, “Don’t Let It Loose!” If you have an exotic pet that you can no longer care for or no longer wish to keep, you can surrender it with no penalty through the FWC’s Exotic Pet Amnesty Program. Once surrendered, healthy animals are made available for adoption to pre-approved adopters.
The FWC hosts Exotic Pet Amnesty Days throughout the state. Exotic pet owners who cannot attend an Exotic Pet Amnesty Day may contact the FWC’s Exotic Species Hotline at 888-Ive-Got1 (888-483-4681) for year-round assistance in finding their animal a new home.
To learn more about nonnative species in Florida, visit MyFWC.com/Nonnatives.