Big Lizard at the Bank

This may be a common sight in some places but when I saw this lizard in the bank parking lot I knew that I was looking at a real Florida invasive species. I think my jaw literally dropped when I saw it. I grabbed my camera quick but, being stuck in the drive-thru lane, could only take a few hasty semi-blurry shots through the windshield before it disappeared. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), this is an African Redhead Agama, first seen in Broward County in the 1990s near “reptile dealerships in Hollywood”. They have been reported in a handful of Florida counties scattered throughout the southern part of the state but, until now at least, according to the FWC web site, the closest they were to Indian River County was Martin County, which is two counties to the south. Actually, not all that far to go if they hitched a ride in yard waste or some other form of transportation. And since they seem to do fine in suburbia, this one might be around for the long haul. Hopefully it does not have a mate given this one’s large size. The FWC reports they can grow up to be 12 inches long and this one looked to be pushing that size.

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