If you live in Cape Coral, take advice from Angie Newman and hide your cats and dogs from the wild pet-eating lizards.
A little more than a week ago, Newman discovered that her 12-year-old cat Boo Boo was missing. But Boo Boo didn't run away -- she found tufts of his hair nearby and Boo Boo's skull in her neighbor's yard, according to WFTX-TV.
The culprit? One of the Nile monitors known to roam the neighborhood.
At about 7-feet long with a mighty jaw and razor-sharp claws, the Nile monitor can tear through prey several times its size and is known to be aggressive.
Although Newman told WFTX that she didn't see the attack, she believes it was a Nile monitor she saw the day before because the invasive lizard species is known to eat its prey whole -- bones and all -- leaving very little behind.
The Nile monitor is originally from Africa but has been established in Florida, particulary Cape Coral, since at least the 1990s. There are efforts to trap and relocate the lizards, but because the lizards can lay up to 60 eggs in a year their population can be difficult to control.
It's not recommended to keep a Nile monitor and if you see one in the wild, don't approach it. Aside from their powerful jaws and claws you'll need to beware of the lizard's back end, too because according to Reptaquatics.com, the lizards will often use cloacal evacuation -- a.k.a. projectile diarrhea -- as a defense mechanism.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun