Tag Archives: exotic pets

The Wandering Gigantic Lizard

Image result for images of water monitor

Most of these are nicer than they look.

(Thanks to “Unknowable” for the news tip)

Professional trappers with dogs are trying–and failing, so far–to capture an allegedly six-foot-long water monitor lizard whose wanderings in the local neighborhood has Florida homeowners freaking out (http://www.foxnews.com/science/2018/08/31/giant-lizard-in-florida-evades-capture-torments-family-its-terrifying-to-look-at.html).

One man reported the lizard scratching at his back door, trying to get into his house. He tried to lure the monitor into the garage; the lizard followed him for a ways, then turned and fled.

The worst thing I ever heard about water monitors is that they can be irascible when provoked–so don’t provoke one.

This animal has almost certainly been someone’s pet that got rejected and released when it got too big–a common fate of reptile pets. It’s acting like a pet that wants a home. It was selfish and cruel to release it into the wild. If you’re not going to keep your pet, don’t acquire it in the first place.

Most animals, monitor lizards included, respond to affection and care. This is not an animal you need to be afraid of. They say they’ll “euthanize” it if they catch it, so I’m hoping they don’t catch it. I’m hoping the critter can find another home. Water monitors live in Southeast Asia and don’t belong in Florida, on the loose in an unfamiliar environment. They’re big and scary-looking, but that’s in the eye of the beholder.

Incidents like this reflect very, very badly on people who opt for reptile pets.


Invasion of Giant Hungry Lizards?

Image result for images of tegu lizards

This one is tame–I think.

Those scary stories about alligators living in our city sewers turned out to be an urban legend. But here’s something almost as bad that’s definitely not a legend.

Wild colonies of South American tegu lizards have established themselves in Florida and are doing well enough to threaten to “march across the South” as far as the Carolinas and Texas, wildlife experts say (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-lizards/invasion-of-big-voracious-lizards-threatens-u-s-south-study-idUSKBN1KO1AF).

How did that happen? People acquire the tegus as pets, get tired of them, and let them go.

Tegus are heavy, muscular lizards with big heads and strong jaws, and they can grow to be four feet long. In Florida they’re eating alligator and bird eggs, any small animals they can catch, and fruit. As tegu owners already know, tegus are not picky eaters. They’ll scarf down practically anything; and getting bitten by a large tegu would feet like getting your hand caught in a car door. Trust me, I know. My savannah monitor (you could easily mistake it for a tegu) nailed me once, and you should’ve heard me howl. And that was just a warning bite, as in “No more medicine, you putz!” If she’d meant business, it would’ve gone hard with me.

There’s nothing wrong, I’d say, with having a tegu for a pet; but it’s very wrong to release one into the wild. Can’t we be decent to our animals? Acquiring a pet of any kind ought to be a loving commitment for as long as the animal lives.

I had to part with my monitor. I had to medicate her, the treatment was successful, but she hated it and it left her with a deep grudge against me. Eventually I found a man, affiliated with the Staten Island Zoo, who had remodeled his home to house his collection of really cool reptiles, and he was happy to adopt Spot. If a monitor lizard could purr, she would have purred when I handed her over to her new owner. Made me feel about two inches tall, but I’m sure I did the right thing.

If you’re not going to keep and love your pet, you shouldn’t have it in the first place.

Meanwhile, the tegus are coming, the tegus are coming…


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