Behold the lizard king: giant 2.4 metre Asian water monitor is captured after terrorising Florida neighbourhood for months
- The enormous lizard, an escaped pet named Bamboo, is estimated to weigh 70kg
Florida authorities have caught a huge lizard that has terrified residents of a suburban Miami neighbourhood for months.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said Thursday the Asian water monitor lizard measures more than 2.4 metres (7.9 feet) long. It is estimated to weigh 70kg (154lbs).
The lizard is an escaped pet. It was first reported loose in August in the Davie neighbourhood. Residents said it lurked in their backyards and scratched at their patio doors.
Wildlife officers and Davie police officers caught it Tuesday after getting a tip from a resident who said the lizard frequently appeared on his property around midday.
“I’m relieved,” said resident Zachary Lieberman. “The whole community’s really relieved because people can fully enjoy the outdoors again and not have to fear that this thing might be out there lurking or whether it would attack or get after their children or a pet.”
A wildlife commission statement says the lizard will be returned to its owner, who received a criminal citation for its escape.
Owners must have cages to keep these lizards as pets. It’s illegal to release non-native species in Florida.
Lieberman said a woman neighbour had kept the lizard as a pet in her pool.
“It was definitely somebody’s pet,” he said. “Bamboo, the name was Bamboo.”
The conservation commission has restricted personal ownership of Burmese pythons, green anacondas, Nile monitors and other species considered harmful if they escape captivity. But the agency has imposed no restrictions on ownership of Asian water monitors.
“It’s been a process but we’re just relieved that it’s finally caught,” Lieberman said.
Additional reporting by Tribune News Service