The Lizard King cometh. No, not Jim Morrison — a real Lizard King: a six-foot, 100-pound reptile that’s been chilling in a South Florida neighborhood and appears to be unstoppable, or at least untrappable.
The hulking monstrosity has been thwomping around in the Broward County town of Davie since Monday and has thwarted all attempts at capture, including hooks, hunting dogs and human hands. Experts have identified it as a Nile monitor, a breed of gargantuan lizard native to Africa.
Nile monitors are “the largest, most dangerous non-indigenous lizard in the United States,” according to the United States Geological Survey. Full-grown Nile monitors are known to be “ill-tempered and aggressive” according to Reptiles Magazine, and sometimes (gulp) they hunt in packs.
It first appeared in the backyard of the Lieberman family on Aug. 27 and has returned several times since. At first, the family thought it was an alligator because it was so massive.
“It looked like a dinosaur,” homeowner Maria Lieberman told WSVN 7News. “My kids were screaming. We just watched ‘Jurassic Park,’ so it was insane.”
Maria and her husband, Zach, have two children, ages 2 and 4, who have been too terrified to go outside since the creature arrived. The lizard has been making full use of the property — sunbathing, stalking through the grass, and even coming up to the sliding glass door.
Much to the family’s horror, it does not appear to be afraid of people. When Zach tried to scare it off with a baseball bat, it kept coming toward him, undeterred.
“He followed me right up to the front of my house,” Zach told WSVN. “I’m pretty sure he ate Rocky the raccoon, ‘cause he looked like his belly was full, so God forbid, the speed that he has to get to a small child would be pretty quick.”
Nile monitors do eat small mammals, but according to Ron Magill of Zoo Miami, they typically feast on rodents, birds and eggs. Potentially, the lizard wandering around in Davie could eat a small dog.