What is a Nile monitor?


Quick Answer

The Nile monitor is the largest lizard native to Africa, reaching up to 7 feet 11 inches in length. It is an invasive species in Florida, where it is considered a threat to native burrowing owls, gopher tortoises, sea turtles and American crocodiles.

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Full Answer

Nile monitors are sold as pets but are difficult to keep. Escaped or released animals have established breeding colonies in Florida, particularly in Lee County on the southwestern coast.

Nile monitors live near rivers, ponds, lakes and other bodies of water. They eat rodents, frogs, toads, fish, lizards, birds, beetles, crabs, earthworms, slugs and the eggs of birds, turtles and crocodiles. Anecdotal evidence from Florida suggests they may be eating domestic cats and dogs as well.

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