Leaping Lizard

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Thursday, January 27, 2011 - 10:55am

California animal control shocked to find massive reptile wandering through neighborhood.

People strolling through Riverside, California Tuesday got the shock of their lives when they stumbled across a massive monitor lizard.

"It was just walking along," according to Riverside County Department of Animal Services Public Information Officer John Welsh. "People were stunned by the size of this thing. It looks like the size of a small alligator."

Department of Animal Services Officer Jenny Seltzer was dispatched to retrieve the lizard.

"I was thinking it would be an itty-bitty lizard," Seltzer said. "I really thought I would be rolling up to discover it was just an oversized garden lizard. This was no garden lizard."

With the assistance of a Riverside police officer, Seltzer snared the lizard with a catch pole and hauled it into her pickup truck.

The lizard didn't go quietly.

"The reptile really didn't care for that," according to Welsh. "He hissed a little bit at her."

Officials think the monitor lizard, which is native to Africa, is likely someone's pet.

Monitor lizards are legal to own in California.

It now resides at the Western Riverside County Animal Shelter in Riverside.

"It's very docile," says Welsh. "Somebody will probably come in tomorrow and pick it up."
 

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