Invasive Asian water monitor captured in Florida Keys

Wildlife officials, volunteers had been tracking animal for months

By Tim Swift - Local10.com Digital Editor

MIAMI - A large Asian water monitor was captured this week in the Florida Keys after being on the loose for months, state wildlife officials said.

"This large, invasive Asian water monitor, measuring 5 feet 2 inches long and weighing 20 pounds, was recently captured and removed from the wild thanks to some incredible teamwork," an official with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said. "Staff, volunteers and partners have been setting traps and searching high and low to remove this nonnative reptile for over a year."

A similar Asian water monitor was captured in Davie in November after roaming through backyards and the Pine Island Ridge nature area.

Neighbors in the Nob Hill community were concerned that the large lizard, which was around 6 feet long and weighs about 100 pounds, could pose a threat to pets and small children.

According to experts, while they're not known to be deadly to humans, an Asian water monitor's bite can be very painful. 

Neighbors in Davie said the lizard was a family pet from a home in the neighborhood that's about a mile away from where it originally spotted.

Anyone who spots a monitor can call the FWC exotic species hotline at 1-888-IVE-GOT1.

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