(UPI) A five-foot-long lizard, not native to the United States, was captured and removed from the wild after a year on the loose, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said on Friday.
The water monitor, native to Asia and presumed to be an escaped or abandoned pet, was found in the Key Largo area. A statement by the FWS noted the importance of protecting "our precious native wildlife by preventing the establishment of a new nonnative species in our state."
It added that the agency was aware of the lizard's presence in the wild for over a year, and has been "setting traps and searching high and low."
When captured, the animal measured 20 pounds in weight and five feet and two inches in length.
In August, a monitor was spotted in a Davie, Fla., backyard. It walked up to a home and looked into a window.
"They swim. It's a water monitor. He can swim fast, run fast and get a hold of the kids fast," homeowner Zach Lieberman said. One bite from him and it could be devastating. Some of my other neighbors have seen him out by the lake. He sunbathes in the back yard.Copyright 2019 by United Press International