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After 6 months on the loose, an 8-foot, prehistoric-looking lizard has been captured at long last

Susanna Heller
  • In August, an 8-foot-long lizard began to terrorize a community in Davie, Florida.
  • The lizard was a pet that had escaped into the wild.
  • For nearly 6 months it evaded capture.
  • On Tuesday, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission captured the animal.
  • Now, it's going home to its original pet owner.

In August, an 8-foot-long lizard began to terrorize the community in Davie, Florida. Now, after nearly six months on the loose, it has been captured, as we first read on Local 10 News.

Maria and Zack Lieberman were among the first to spot the beast basking in the sun in their backyard, they told INSIDER in August.

"I opened the blinds and there's this six-foot lizard ... I was like, man, that's a really big lizard. That's a really big fella," he told INSIDER of the moment he discovered the animal.


The Lieberman family then enlisted the help of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), local trappers, and hunting dogs to try and capture the lizard alive, but for months they came up short. A representative for the FWC told INSIDER that the organisation first became aware of the escaped water monitor on August 21 and had been searching for it ever since.

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Asian water monitors can be dangerous to children and dogs, as they have a tendency to bite. The animals are have dangerous bacteria in their saliva, but they are not known to be deadly to humans.

Finally, on Tuesday, the tides changed in favour of the FWC, the Davie Police Department, and residents, who all worked together to capture the animal, according to a press release from the agency.

Body shot of lizard

The 8-foot-long, 100-pound lizard was suspected to be a pet that had escaped into the wild. In addition to the Lieberman's backyard, the animal had also taken to hiding in a nearby nature preserve.

Before it escaped, the water monitor was kept in a pool along with three other lizards, a local trapper told INSIDER in August. This is not the proper way to house a water monitor, though. According to the FWC, a criminal citation has been issued to the pet owner for the animal's escape.

In the press release, the FWC said the pet owner was instrumental in helping to capture the animal, which is considered non-native to the region.

Water monitor three

"In this instance, the pet owner came forward and provided us with tips about the animal's behaviour that ultimately helped our biologists capture it," said Sarah Funck, FWC's Non-Native Fish and Wildlife Program coordinator.

Recently, an inspection was completed to ensure the owner has appropriate caging in place for the animal. The monitor has since been returned to its original owner.

All is well that ends in a captured lizard, as they say.

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