4-foot monitor lizard on the loose in Decatur - KMSP-TV

4-foot monitor lizard on the loose in Decatur

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DECATUR, Ga. -

Some Decatur residents are on alert after a 4-foot long monitor lizard was spotted in their neighborhood.

The creature was first spotted by a mail carrier last week sunning in a driveway.

"The mail woman come up and stopped with her eyes just bulging out, and she took a picture of this lizard," Randy Attaway said.

Reptile expert Greg Greer was called by the neighbors to try to catch the lizard but by the time he got there, it was gone.  It's been spotted throughout the neighborhood.

"They're extremely strong and even a lizard that size, from what I've seen of the photographs -- that is a very, very strong lizard, and it's one that even if you were to grab him by the tail, he would take you a little bit for a ride," Greer said.

Greer says the monitor lizard has dangerous bite, but won't hurt anyone unless cornered. That's why no one except for an expert should try and catch him.

"That monitor lizard probably started off as a 12-inch hatchling and within two years you have a 4 to 5-foot lizard. As when they're young, they can't hurt you but as they get bigger, they certainly can do a lot of damage," Greer said.

Randy Attaway and his friend Mike got close enough to snap the photographs of the lizard.

"Got about 30 foot from it. It had crawled over to corner of the house where fence is, and then all of a sudden, that's when he swelled up and come up off his feet. It' something I had never seen but on TV," Attaway said.

The monitor lizard loves the sunshine and it can swim and climb trees. Neighbors with rabbits or small dogs should watch out: it also likes to eat a lot.  But Greg Greer says there's no reason for people to be afraid.

"If this lizard is just left alone and no one approaches it very closely, it's not going to hurt anyone," Greer said.

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