Scottsdale firefighters remove, relocate Gila monster

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A Scottsdale homeowner found a Gila Monster in their backyard. (Source: Scottsdale Fire Dept.) A Scottsdale homeowner found a Gila Monster in their backyard. (Source: Scottsdale Fire Dept.)
A Scottsdale homeowner found a Gila Monster in their backyard. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) A Scottsdale homeowner found a Gila Monster in their backyard. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
A Scottsdale homeowner found a Gila Monster in their backyard. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) A Scottsdale homeowner found a Gila Monster in their backyard. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
SCOTTSDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

Scottsdale firefighters got a bit of a rare call Monday afternoon from a homeowner who found a large lizard type reptile in their backyard. Fearing for their dogs, they called for help.

When the crew from Station 615 arrived, they discovered it was a Gila monster.

"Probably the biggest one I've seen," said firefighter Jim Dooley. "It was about 22 inches long, 4 inches in diameter."

Dooley and another firefighter corralled the rotund reptile into a bucket so they could transport it.

"Truly, they're afraid of the lizard biting their dogs, so what we do in Scottsdale, we do remove the hazard from the yard and release in the desert," Dooley said.

Calls about Gila monsters are fairly rare. Dooley could only recount a handful in the past two years and said this was the first for them in 2017.

[RELATED: Gilbert baby stung by scorpion prompts mother to take precautions]

Snakes, on the other hand, are a different story.

"We get around five or six rattlesnake calls a day," said Dooley.

In fact, right after they moved the Gila monster to a more appropriate spot, they got a request to remove a rattlesnake from a backyard.

It's not unusual this time of year.

"March and April when they come out of hibernation and they come out hungry and they go anywhere to get food," Dooley said.

For Dooley, every reptile removal is an opportunity to shed some light on the critters worth keeping around.

"We try to educate them, what's a good reptile to have around the house and what's the bad reptile," he said.

Scottsdale residents can always call the fire department if they are concerned about a snake or reptile in their yard.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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