Monitor Lizard Found in Southern California Backyard

A four-foot-long crocodile monitor, a lizard that can grow to eight feet long, sunning itself Wednesday on a hedge in Williams' backyard in Riverside, California. It's legal to own them in the California. It's currently in the custody of the Riverside County Department of Animal Services, and if the owner doesn't claim it, the monitor will be sent to a sanctuary for exotic animals. Photo: J. Craig Williams

RIVERSIDE, California — A lizard that can grow to be 8 feet long has been found in Southern California, thousands of miles from its native land, and authorities think it’s a pet gone astray.

The 4-foot-long crocodile monitor was spotted sunning itself on top of a hedge Wednesday afternoon in the backyard of a Riverside home.Update:

The crocodile monitor is a relative of the famous Komodo dragon. It’s native to Papua New Guinea and Indonesia — not California — but it is legal to own them in the state.

It’s green and yellow with big claws, a long tail and a forked tongue.

It is legal to own in California.

The big lizard is now being held by Riverside County’s animal services division. If the owner doesn’t claim it, the monitor will be sent to a sanctuary for exotic animals.

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