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5-foot-long lizard catches animal control officer by surprise in Riverside County

January 25, 2011 |  5:40 pm

Riverside County Lizard
When Riverside County animal control officer Jenny Selter got a call to retrieve a lizard Tuesday, she figured it would be a small garden-variety reptile.

She was taken aback when she rolled onto the scene in Riverside and saw the 5-foot-long animal staring right at her.

"This was no garden lizard," she said in statement.

With the aid of a police officer, she used a pole to capture the lizard and hoist it onto her truck.

The animal is believed to be a black-throated monitor lizard, which is native to Africa, according to the Riverside County Department of Animal Services.

Department spokesman John Welsh said the lizard was probably someone's pet that escaped. He said it was the largest lizard he has seen.

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Photo: A chihuahua at the animal shelter eyes keeps his eyes on the long lizard. Credit: Riverside County Department of Animal Services

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