CAPE CORAL, FL -- A Cape Coral woman is hoping to turn devastation into awareness after she suspects a Nile Monitor ate her 12-year-old cat "Boo Boo."
Angie Newman, who lives on Southwest 4th Court, found a large amount of cat hair in her front yard on Friday, and later found the jaw and nose of "Boo Boo."
"It was terrible," she said. "It ripped my heart out and it still does, it hurts."
Newman said she saw a Nile Monitor- an invasize lizard- the day before the suspected attack happened. She's confident it was a Nile Monitor that ate her cat because it not only ate the cat's carcass, but its bones as well.
"These animals will use their claws to dig into a carcass that's three times their size and they'll just go to eating the insides right out," said Steve Masek, animal coordinator at Calusa Nature Center.
The species is native to Africa but is living in Cape Coral. Masek estimates hundreds of them call Cape Coral home. The diversity of canals appeals to the creatures, who will burrow into the side of banks where the ground is soft.
"[Cape Coral] is just like where they're from, it's a tropical zone," said Jerry Higby, owner of Wild Things Wildlife Control.
Nile Monitors, who can run up to 18 miles per hour and reach up to nine feet in length, will eat rabbits, cats and small dogs if they come across them.
If you see a Nile Monitor in your Cape Coral neighborhood, contact the City's Environmental Resources Division to arrange for someone to come out with a trap. Call (239) 547-0785 or visit