Sloth Encounters cited by DEC for illegal possession and transportation of Nile monitors
After a complaint from Humane Long Island, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) cited Sloth Encounters owner Larry Wallach and his New Jersey supplier with illegal possession, sale, and transportation of Nile monitors, venomous reptiles who grow to be over 6ft long. Possessing Nile monitors require a dangerous animals permit, which Wallach does not have after the DEC failed to renew his permit last year due to previous infractions, such as illegally exhibiting a tiger in a Nassau County park.
According to Daniel Bennet's (1998) Monitor Lizards: Natural History, Biology & Husbandry:
There are few lizards less suited to life in captivity than the Nile monitor. Buffrenil (1992) considered that, when fighting for its life, a Nile monitor was a more dangerous adversary than a crocodile of a similar size. Their care presents particular problems on account of the lizards' enormous size and lively dispositions. Very few of the people who buy bright-coloured baby Nile monitors can be aware that, within a couple of years, their purchase will have turned into an enormous, ferocious carnivore, quite capable of breaking the family cat's neck with a single snap and swallowing it whole.
In Maryland, a man's "pet" Nile monitors killed and ate their owner while the Florida Wildlife Commission (FWC) has pleaded with the public for help controlling this dangerous and invasive species after owners released them into the suburbs.