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5-foot Monitor Lizard found wandering in IE

January 25, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
A 5-foot Black-throated Monitor Lizard was found in a backyard in Riverside on Tuesday, frightening residents in the area.

The reptile, which is native to Africa, is now being held at a Riverside County animal shelter.

Riverside County Animal Services said he's someone's pet who apparently got out.

"The residents were freaking out because here's the Godzilla-like creature walking down the sidewalk," said John Welsh, spokesman for Riverside County Animal Services.

After a frantic 911 call and some quick work with a catch pole, the lizard was captured and brought to the shelter, where he'll stay until his owner shows up.

Black-throated Monitor lizards are carnivorous, legal to own in California and native to the African grasslands and parts of Asia. Juveniles go for about $100 in pet stores, but they grow.

Back at the shelter, staff found the reptile was well-behaved for a Monitor lizard.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.