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Lizard King.............


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Feel like I'm living in an episode of Wild Kingdom.

From AOL's front page:

CAPE CORAL, Fla. - Biologists in southwest Florida have set out to trap a species of giant, carnivorous lizards normally native to Africa that appear to be spreading through the region.

Cape Coral has become a haven for Nile monitor lizards, and their population in the Gulf Coast city has possibly reached the thousands, said Todd Campbell, a University of Tampa assistant professor of biology who has started a project to monitor the monitors. Options being studied include relocating or killing the animals.

The first official report of a monitor lizard in Cape Coral was in 1990. Since then, Cape Coral has received 145 reports.

Nile monitor lizards, which can easily grow to 5 feet, might have become established in Cape Coral in one of two ways, Campbell said. Some may have been released into the wild after being kept as pets, or the roaming lizards might all be descendants of a single pregnant female who was released.

Campbell and his assistants, working with state and federal grants, are trying to learn whether monitor lizards have become a threat to native species. The animals can hunt prey in the water, in trees and even underground.

``They likely eat anything they can fit in their mouths,'' said Gregg Klowden, a University of Florida biologist working on the project. ``In my opinion, burrowing owls are like popcorn snacks for them.''

In Africa, the lizards eat crocodile eggs, fish, mussels and snails.

``They certainly wouldn't have any problem with baby alligators,'' Campbell said, adding: ``These things eat oysters, so to crunch a gopher tortoise shell would be nothing. They probably eat armadillos, foxes, ground doves, reptiles, amphibians. There's one story of a lady finding a hatchling monitor eating goldfish out of her pond.''

07/18/03 20:03 EDT

Copyright 2003 The Associated Press.

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I was actually wondering how they taste marinaded and slow cooked over a wood fire. Should be pretty tender at around 3 feet long.

. ``In my opinion, burrowing owls are like popcorn snacks for them.''

Considering Cape Coma has the highest population of burrowing owls in the world, I say............eat up Mr. Monitor:laugh:


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Originally posted by Pete

Feel like I'm living in an episode of Wild Kingdom.

Wild Kingdom? Man, talk about a blast from the past. I used to love how Marlon Perkins would be sitting in his air-conditioned office in a leather recliner and say ...

'Now Jim will attempt to remove the barnacle from the man-eating alligators tooth....be careful Jim!'

Thanks for the memory Pete : )

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