Cape Coral homeowner thinks huge lizard ate cat

CAPE CORAL, Fla.- Lurking in some parts of Cape Coral is an invasive predator that’s known for eating almost anything. Katie Onufer had her first encounter with one last week.

“It was huge,” Onufer told WINK News.

Last Wednesday Onufer found what is likely a large Nile monitor lizard in her backyard. She was able to snap a handful of photos before it ran off through a hole in the fence.

“I got about four feet from it. It started to hiss, so I kinda backed away and let it figure out how to get out by itself. I was pretty shocked at how quickly it was able to run,” said Onufer.

To make matters worse, Onufer thinks the lizard may have eaten her cat.

“Once I saw it, I put two and two together. The cat’s been missing for over two weeks. I try not to think about it, but we’re losing hope.”

The city estimates there’s currently more than a thousand monitor lizards in Cape Coral. They’re found primarily in southwest Cape and generally live in underground burrows near canals. They’ve been known to eat fish, turtles, mollusks, birds, eggs, and mammals, including cats and small dogs.

Onufer called the city, and a day later they set a trap across the street near the canal’s edge. As of Tuesday afternoon the trap remained empty.

“I hope that they catch it. I don’t want to hear any stories of any neighbors’ animals going missing. You know or anyone getting hurt by it,” said Onufer.

If you live in Cape Coral and see a monitor lizard in your neighborhood, you can call (239) 574-0785 and ask the city to send someone out to set a trap free of charge.

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