The Nile Monitor (Varanus niloticus), the longest lizard in Africa, was first observed in southwestern peninsular Florida in the Cape Coral area of Lee County ca. 1990. From April 2001 through 7 July 2003, we compiled 146 sightings or captures of this species by local residents or ourselves. Numerous individuals of all size classes have been observed or collected, suggesting the occurrence of a reproducing population. Although our records are mostly confined to Cape Coral, our data indicate that V. niloticus has recently expanded its range northwards and to nearby islands. Because this large lizard has the potential to disperse into nearby ecologically sensitive areas and preserves where it could pose a serious threat to waterbirds, Burrowing Owls (Athene cunicularia), sea turtles, and other native wildlife, population monitoring and eradication are warranted.
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