Meeting ‘Godzilla’ in Riverside, California

California is known for its sun, surf, and Hollywood – and now it’s home to a 5 foot black-throated monitor lizard that wanders around the neighbourhood of Riverside. Needless to say, people from Massachusetts Avenue were shocked to find this enormous alligator-like creature sharing the sidewalk with them that afternoon.

Imagine seeing this creature on the sidewalk
Imagine seeing this creature on the sidewalk

The Riverside County Department of Animal Services received a call in the afternoon about this huge wandering scaled menaced. Later that day, the news reported a “Godzilla-like” lizard, which was sure to capture a lot of people’s imagination… not to mention fears.

Spokesperson John Welsh commented that “people were stunned by the size of this thing.” He mentioned that it took quite a while to catch the 5 foot monitor lizard and put this hissing monster with a sharp, lashing tail in the back of the truck. In order to catch this loose lizard, Officer Jenny Selter apprehended it with a catch pole which is a long pole with a loop on the end which is used to handle vicious dogs. That’s when the 45 pound lizard through a hissy fit, writhing and hissing away. Fortunately, a Police Officer came to help by grabbing the lizard of the body while the Animal Services Officer caught it by the tail.

However, back at the animal shelter house, the lizard was rather well behaved which led to Animal Services to believe that this lizard was actually someone’s pet that somehow managed to escape its cage.

The black-throated monitor lizard is a carnivous creature. Baby Monitor lizards are sold in pet stores for about $100. It is native to the African grasslands as well as some parts of Asia. It is legal to own a lizard as a pet in California, but its size is so big to even think of it as a pet. However, the lizard’s owner, Tom Casarez Jr., came forward and was reunited with his beloved pet called Elmer.

Apparently Elmer had been missing since Sunday when Casarez believes he escaped when his tank was being cleaned. Animal Services Officers visited Casarez’s house to ensure that the lizard was safe, happy, and was being cared for properly.

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