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Environmental Resources

Wildlife in Cape Coral

Protecting native wildlife habitats is a component of wildlife conservation in Florida. The City of Cape Coral has an abundance of wildlife within the community, including some invasive species. See below for more information on the following topics:

Common Native Urban Wildlife

Urban wildlife habitats can support habitat connectivity within ecological landscapes and serve as a refuge for species impacted by urbanization. Wildlife, plant, and marine biodiversity keep ecosystems functional. When species decrease in number, ecosystems, food webs, and people suffer. Common
 native urban wildlife in Cape Coral includes:

     - Alligators
- Bees
- Opossums
     - Armadillos
- Coyotes
- Raccoons
     - Turtles & Tortoises
- Fresh & Saltwater Fish
- Rats & Mice
     - Bats - Marine Mammals
- Snakes

     - Butterflies & Moths

- Migratory & Non-Migratory Birds (including the City bird, the Burrowing Owl)

Invasive Lizards

elviscrCape Coral is home to three species of large, invasive lizards: the Nile Monitor, the Green Iguana, and the Spiny-tailed Iguana.  While both types of iguana are found all over Florida, Nile Monitors are unique to this area.  They were introduced sometime before 1990, probably due to the pet trade, and the population in Cape Coral is believed to be over one thousand.

Nile Monitor Trapping
Nile Monitors are carnivores, and they are extremely good predators.  They'll eat fish, turtles, mollusks, birds, mammals, and eggs.  They live in burrows in the ground, generally near canals. They are excellent swimmers, able to hold their breath for up to an hour, and can run up to 18 mph on land.  Nile Monitors can grow to 7 feet long, so the potential harm to wildlife in the area - including burrowing owls - is great.  Because of that threat, the Environmental Resources Division conducts a trapping program.  If you see a Nile Monitor near your property, please call us at 574-0785, and we will attempt to trap it.

We do not trap iguanas; however, you may contact a private trapper for assistance.  Most private trappers will charge a fee.  The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission maintains a list of registered nuisance wildlife trappers on their website. 

Is it a Nile Monitor or an Iguana?
ere's what to look for to tell the difference.  Scroll down for photos of each species.

  • Color-Iguanas tend to be green to brown, sometimes with orange legs.  They have big black bands on their tail.  Spiny-tailed Iguanas are darker in color than Greens.  Monitors are black with yellow spots.
  • Shape-Iguanas are thicker than monitors; monitors are more snake-like and have a narrower head.
  • Spines-Iguanas have a row of spikes down their back.  Monitors do not.  The spines are more evident on Green Iguanas than on Spiny-tailed Iguanas, though Spiny-tailed Iguanas also have spines on their tails.
  Nile Monitor: monitor b
  Green Iguana: iguana a
  Spiny-tailed Iguana: Spiny tailed iguana
  Colombian, black and white Tegu: Colombian BW Tegu

Additional Resources

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Fishing Information

Monofilament Recovery and Recycling Program

The Monofilament Recovery & Recycling Program (MRRP) is a statewide effort to educate the public on the problems caused by monofilament lines left in the environment and encourage recycling through line recycling bins and drop-off network locations and conduct volunteer monofilament line cleanup events. 
fish line
Problems for Wildlife:

  • Because the fishing line is thin and often transparent, it is tough for birds and animals to see, and they can easily brush up against it and become entangled.
  • Researchers have documented over 60 fish species that have swallowed or become entangled in marine debris.
  • Dolphins, manatees, and sea turtles may also ingest or become entangled in fishing lines.
  • Hundreds of seabirds are rescued annually due to hook and line entanglements, and many less fortunate birds die.

 Problems for People:
  • Floating fishing lines can get caught in boat engines, resulting in costly repairs.
  • When surveyed, boat motor repair services in Northeast Florida indicated that approximately 25% - 30% of all repairs were associated with fishing line entanglement on the propeller or the shaft.
  • Boaters have been hooked by fishing gear hanging from bridges.
  • It is difficult for humans, as it is for wildlife, to see fishing lines floating in the water or tangled up in the rocks.  There are documented cases of swimmers & divers becoming entangled in fishing lines, panicking, and drowning.
  recycle bin sea grant
mini bin picture
  Monofilament Recycling Bin
Photo courtesy of Sea Grant
Mini-recycling bin
Photo courtesy of Sea Grant

PVC recycling bins, pictured above, have been installed at popular fishing locations throughout Cape Coral. City residents will maintain each bin by emptying it regularly, cleaning the line, and taking it to an indoor drop-off point. When a box at an indoor drop-off point fills up, it will be mailed to Iowa, where the fishing line can be recycled into new fishing gear such as spools and tackle boxes.

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How Can You Help?

  • Be Line Conscious - Consider the age and strength of your line. Keep track of all lines you use. It is essential to take the time to remove fishing line from the mangroves if it becomes tangled there after miscasting. Small pieces of line cut from leaders can be stored in a mini monofilament recycling bin, available for no cost at City Hall and Rotary Park Environmental Center.
  • Recover Fishing Line - Remove and properly dispose of any fishing line you encounter. 
  • Recycle - Fishing lines cannot be included in your regular recycling bin but can be sent back to the manufacturer and recycled into new fishing gear. Recycle fishing lines at a local tackle shop or an outdoor PVC recycling bin posted at boat ramps and piers throughout the City. If the tackle shop you visit does not have a recycling bin, encourage them to participate in the program. If you must throw your used line into the trash, first cut it into lengths shorter than 6 inches. This will lower the likelihood of entanglement or ingestion by wildlife, as birds, small mammals, or even wind can pull it out of a garbage pail or landfill.
--> Click here to view Recycling Bin Locations Map (pdf)

For more information on the Monofilament Recovery Program, please contact:
Katie McBride, M.S., Environmental Biologist, City of Cape Coral, (239) 574-0785,

Additional Resources:

Wildlife Brochures

Related Organizations

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