PETS PARADE: Feral cats are cute, destructive

I am so happy to see a response you my feral cat column.

My reason for bringing this topic up is I see the devastation feral cats cause as a huge problem.

While many people think they are cute, feel sorry for them or simply look the other way, the real issue is they eat native wildlife to the point of extinction and carry diseases that can spread to humans as well as other animals.

If you can get close enough to pet a feral cat, to me, the next step would be to capture it and turn it in to animal control.

I totally agree, doing nothing is the worst scenario.

Many of these animals are suffering from poor health and lack of resources in addition to being a nuisance.

Speaking of invasive species, did you hear about the Nile Monitor lizard in Vero Beach? I did a bit of research on them, it’s pretty scary!

According to Biologist Todd Campbell of the University of Tampa, Monitor lizards are not picky eaters.

Bugs, frogs, smaller lizards, turtles, birds, rodents, baby alligators, endangered gopher tortoises, endangered burrowing owls, the eggs and offspring of any of these animals, feral cats, domestic cat, and road kill are all part of their diet.

They sometimes hunt in packs.

Their disposition is disagreeable.

They live an average of 12 years.

And from a Google search, Nile Monitors can grow to about 7 feet in length. They have muscular bodies, strong legs and powerful jaws.

The teeth are sharp and pointed in juvenile animals and become blunt and peg-like in adults. They also possess sharp claws used for climbing, digging, defense, or tearing at their prey.

Like all monitors they have a forked tongue, with highly developed olfactory properties.

Let’s outlaw exotic pets, make the owners and breeders be licensed and provide penalty free turn-ins to help stop the spread of these dangerous animals.

Cissy Sumner, CPDT-KA Best Behavior Dog Training Member, Board of Directors, CCPDT APDT #062323 AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluator #13985 Vero Beach, FL 772-978-7863 www.bestbehaviordogtraining.org

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