Escaped exotic lizard triggers warnings in Scottsdale

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by Jared Dillingham

Bio | Email | Follow: @JaredDillingham

azfamily.com

Posted on May 1, 2014 at 10:30 PM

Updated Thursday, May 1 at 10:30 PM

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- A dangerous exotic lizard, probably kept as a pet, either escaped or was dumped in Scottsdale and is still on the loose.

A family near 57th Street and Thunderbird Road spotted the 3-foot long, 10-pound Tegu lizard in their backyard.

"It was big and ugly," Robeta Koron told 3TV.

The lizard was drinking out of a dog bowl and was tough to scare away.

"It hissed at my son when he stuck a broom at it," she said.

They called the Phoenix Herpetological Society but the lizard escaped.
 
"They're definitely dangerous. They have a tremendously powerful bite,'' Dan Marchand of the Herpetological Society told 3TV.

Tegu lizards are from South America but are legal to keep as pets.

"They have teeth that can tear you up," Marchand warned.

One staff member at the Herpetological Society needed stitches after an encounter, and Marchand recalled another animal control officer's bite.

"It grabbed the lady by the hand. She got 10 or 12 stitches," he said.

The lizards are nonvenomous meat-eaters.

Marchand suspects the Tegu on the loose in Scottsdale will not be shy about approaching people while looking for food.

He suggests that anyone who spots the lizard call the Herpetological Society immediately at 602-550-1090.

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