News Releases

FWC removal efforts target Nile monitors; public can help

News Release

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Media contact: Liz Barraco, 850-556-2269

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is on the lookout for Nile monitor lizards in Palm Beach County and is increasing efforts to locate and remove them. Biologists expect that these lizards will be breeding soon and may be more visible this time of year.

The FWC is surveying canals in the area and distributing fliers requesting the public’s assistance in locating these animals. Helping is easy. Just photograph and report any Nile monitor sightings; reports can greatly assist wildlife managers in directing removal efforts.

The Nile monitor is a species of lizard native to Africa. The color of its body can range from a light yellow to dark olive or brown. Nile monitors have a pattern of light yellow markings on the back, which appear as bands or stripes closer to the head and tail. A typical adult Nile monitor can grow to over 5 feet long and close to 15 pounds. Hatchlings are 7 to 12 inches in length. Nile monitors are semi-aquatic and can be seen basking or foraging near bodies of water. In Palm Beach County, this species is most frequently observed along canal banks near Southern Boulevard.

“Nile monitors eat a wide variety of food items including small mammals, reptiles, fish, amphibians and more,” said biologist Jenny Ketterlin Eckles. “Because their diet is so varied, we are assessing whether this species may have an impact on Florida’s native wildlife.”

Other lizards can easily be mistaken for Nile monitors, including green iguanas, spiny-tailed iguanas, curly-tailed lizards and more.

“Color and pattern variation is pretty common, so the most effective way to verfiy the species is to take a picture of the animal and submit it along with a report of your observation,” said Eckles.

Members of the public are advised not to attempt to capture a Nile monitor themselves. Monitors are not innately aggressive but like any wild animal they may defend themselves if aggravated or threatened.

How you can help:

  • Take a picture of any Nile monitor sighting and immediately report it online to 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.

Learn more about the FWC’s efforts to manage and minimize the impacts of nonnative species on Florida’s fish, wildlife and marine life at

FWC Facts:
Boat/PWC-rental facilities must provide pre-rental or pre-ride instruction on the safe operation of the vessel with a motor of 10 horsepower or more.

Learn More at AskFWC