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Large Invasive Lizard Filmed Beside Florida Road

The Realblog with Stephanie Mallory

Large Invasive Lizard Filmed Beside Florida Road

Posted 2024-06-21  by  Stephanie Mallory

The Asian monitor measured approximately 5-feet long

Alligators and even crocodiles are a common site throughout much of Florida, but one large lizard has everyone talking.

A woman driving down Hillsborough Boulevard in North Port, Florida, spotted a 5-foot-long Asian monitor walking along a busy road last month. Knowing the lizard was something unusual, she filmed it and posted the footage to her Facebook page.

According to the Miami Herald, the Asian water monitor is an invasive species. They typically measure between 4- and 6-feet long, but can grow up to 10 feet in length.

The video was captured by Renee Aland who shared her videos and photos of the encounter on Facebook where she wrote she “did a double take” while driving and reported the sighting to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FFWCC).

“This Asian water monitor was around 5-feet long… I had been sitting there waiting to see it again as they wouldn’t even make a report without photographic proof,” Aland wrote online. “It was seen coming out of the woods near the canal on Hillsboro Boulevard behind the Kia dealership and just south of Bamboo road.”

“He’s just, like, strutting across the road,” Aland says in one Facebook video.

She said getting proof to send the FFWCC seemed like “an exercise in futility” but was “kind of shocked” when the reptile finally emerged again for her video.

FFWCC officials told McClatchy News that they “believe it to be an Asian water monitor (Varanus salvator) but are unable to definitively confirm identification based off the video that was sent to us.” Biologists are monitoring sightings of the lizard to “determine potential response efforts.”

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