FORT MYERS, Fla. (WBBH) — Alfredo Fermin has one of those – a ‘you do what?’ kind of job.   

“He’s trying to bite me right there,” Fermin told NBC2 while grappling with a 4-foot-long Green Iguana.  

Fermin runs his own business, AAA Wildlife Trapping & Removal Services. Of all the animals – all the reptiles – in lizard-filled Florida, iguanas are his most common catch. They are invasive, pervasive, and a problem. They’re everywhere.  

“Oh man, I could say thousands,” Fermin responded when asked how many he’s caught. “You’ll spend a thousand dollars on your flowers – and in two days, they’re gone.”  

But now, there’s another non-native lizard that researchers want you to watch for. It’s called the Brown Basilisk, and scientists with the University of Florida report the lizard is gaining ground across South Florida. 

“It has a crest on the top of its head and then usually a yellow line running down its side,” David Outerbridge, the director of the UF/IFAS Extension in Lee County, told NBC2. 

They’re most well-known for their nickname because of what they can do. 

“Jesus Lizards,” Fermin described. “They run – they can run on water, basically.”  

The appropriately nicknamed ‘Jesus Christ lizard’ is famous for the incredible feat of being able to walk on water – a feat that almost doesn’t look real. 

“It’s actually crazy how they do it; it’s pretty cool,” Fermin said, chuckling. 

“They go underneath the water, but they raise them up so quickly, it looks like they’re walking on water,” Outerbridge explained.  

But as impressive as their skill may be, the biblical Basilisk isn’t from Florida.

It’s native to central Mexico and south to Panama. That means there are questions about its potential impact on our environment, native wildlife, and even us. 

“How does it interact with the system, how does it interact with the other parts of the system, and how do we manage it from becoming a problem?” Outerbridge asked.  

Part of that work includes taking stock of where the lizards are living. If you spot one, UF scientists urge you to report it online.  

The lizards like disturbed areas by fresh water. That’s where you’ll typically see them. 

“We’ve had 43 sightings, I think, in Lee County and 140 or so in Collier County, of the basilisk,” Outerbridge explained. “Which may be only capturing a small amount of the people that are actually seeing it.” 

Unlike the iguana or the Burmese python, the Brown Basilisk is not considered invasive. At least not yet. The hope is it stays that way. 

“It’s not a big population of them. But who says in 10 years if that’s going to be the case,” Fermin said.  

Evan Dean

Source link

You May Also Like

It Slices, It Dices: When Ginsu Knives Cut Through the As-Seen-on TV Competition

The true test of salesmanship is convincing consumers they need something they…

Why The True Stories Behind ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ Are Way Scarier Than The Movie

Explore the real-life origins of Leatherface and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, including…

Watch Jennifer Coolidge Crack Up Her Co-Stars in These ‘Friends’ Bloopers

Jennifer Coolidge’s comical portrayal of Tanya in The White Lotus has given…