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5-foot lizard reunites with owner in IE

January 26, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
A giant lizard that was wandering the streets in the Inland Empire reunited with his owner on Wednesday.

The 5-foot Black-throated Monitor Lizard was found in the backyard of a Riverside home on Tuesday. Animal Control Officer Jennifer Selter arrived at that home to find the creature sun-bathing.

"We just picked him up real quick and tossed him in there nicely. And uh, I closed my door and off I went," said Selter.

The lizard had been staying with the Riverside County Animal Shelter under the care of a reptile specialist.

"Normally the ones in this area are, you know, between 3 to maybe 12 inches at the most," said Kim McWhorter.

The large pet and its owner Thomas Casarez were reunited on Wednesday. Casarez said he knew where to look after watching Eyewitness News. The owner said the lizard's name is Elmer, just like "Looney Toons" character Elmer Fudd.

Elmer, it seems, is an escape artist. While his aquarium was being cleaned on Tuesday, he slipped out the door, down some stairs and wandered away. His worried owners searched high and low for him.

"I thought he was gone because we spent like...two, three hours just looking nonstop around the bushes, the trees. Couldn't find him at all. I am just so glad that people at the animal shelter here did a good job taking care of him and finding him when they did," said Casarez.