Couple's dogs come across lizard in Riverside yard

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (KGTV) - A rare crocodile monitor lizard is in the care of Riverside County Animal Services Friday while staff members search for its owner.

Christine and J. Craig Williams found the five-pound, four-foot long lizard Wednesday at their Riverside home after their dogs began to bark at it, according to a news release.

Animal Services Officer John Hergenreder used a loop to capture it. “It did not try to escape when I walked up to it, but it did start to hiss loudly,” Officer Hergenreder said. “It sensed I was coming to grab it.”

“Crocodile monitors are not usually kept as pets by private individuals,” said reptile expert Kim McWhorter. “They need specialized care, mostly due to the large size they can reach. An owner would need a custom-built, room-sized enclosure. We hope the owner realizes we have their pet now. People are accustomed to coming to the shelter if they lose a dog or cat, but don’t necessarily think of us when they lose a lizard.”

The Riverside City/County animal shelter in Jurupa Valley will hold the exotic pet for a period to allow the rightful owner to claim his/her lizard. It is legal to own a crocodile monitor in California.

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