Florida Keys

The 5-foot-long lizard that was on the loose in Key Largo is finally off the streets

Five-foot lizard captured in Florida neighborhood after more than a year
Five-foot lizard captured in Florida neighborhood after more than a year

This lizard isn’t on the lam anymore.

A sizable and “elusive” Asian water monitor had been loose in Key Largo for more than a year, but thanks to the work of volunteers, the public is safe, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

“Staff, volunteers and partners have been setting traps and searching high and low to remove this nonnative reptile for over a year,” read the caption, along with pictures of the large, scaly thing. One picture of it in a cage shows its mouth wide open. “Their hard work has helped protect our precious native wildlife by preventing the establishment of a new nonnative species in our state.”

So how large? Five feet, two inches long, reads the FWC’s post.

The 20-pounder’s size isn’t what made this reptile such a force of, um, nature, though.

Asian water monitors are known to bite humans and release a venom that could cause an infection. This type of non-native lizard also has a strong tail and sharp claws.

Needless to say, if you see a similar invasive species in your back yard, don’t approach it.

The FWC advises that you take a photo and report the unwanted visitor by using the agency’s IveGot1 app, going to the website, IveGot1.org, or calling the Exotic Species Hotline at 888-Ive-Got1 (483-4681).

As for the lizard’s fate? The FWC adds that it was “humanely killed.”

“Biologists examine the remains of captured invasive species to learn more about the impacts that these species have on our native wildlife,” read the post.

Most commenters were relieved.

“My 7-year-old said, ‘That’s a baby dinosaur, not a lizard.’ ”

“Great job! Cool looking lizard!”

“An amazing creature very strong and quick.”

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