APOPKA, Fla. (WSVN) — Cellphone video that went viral captured a scaly visitor that gave a Central Florida family quite a shock after they spotted it climbing a window on their front porch.
Jocelyn Penson compared the giant reptile — that, thankfully, was unable to bust its way inside her son’s home in Apopka — to a beast out of a Hollywood movie.
She said her son was initially greeted by the slithering lizard while he was inside his residence.
The video, which Penson later posted on social media, shows the animal trying to enter and peeping though a window while sticking its tongue out.
Penson may have compared the uninvited invader to Godzilla, but wildlife expert Ron Magill from Zoo Miami said this is hardly a destructive sea monster. He said the curious creature is just a monitor lizard.
“It’s a fairly common lizard found in Sub-Saharan Africa, throughout most of the continent,” he said. “It’s a lizard that could be anywhere between 3 and 5 feet, generally speaking.”
Although this giant lizard would not be able to seriously hurt humans, Magill said, it is not completely harmless.
“It’s not a venomous lizard, but it can give you a nasty bite,” he said.
Magill believes the sneaky reptile is probably someone’s escaped pet.
“Occasionally these animals do escape, or people purposely release them because they get too larg,e or they get to be too much of a handful to keep in captivity,” he said, “and unfortunately, here in Florida, when reptiles get released into this environment, it’s like being released into Club Med, so they can tend to thrive, and it’s not to me shocking at all to see one show up in someone’s backyard.”
Magill gave a word of advice to anyone who encounters one of these lizards.
“The best thing you can do is to leave it alone. If you can, contact [Florida] Fish and Wildlife [Conservation Commission] to let them know you see it,” he said. “If you want it to go away, just get a broom, get a rake or anything like that, and I promise you, as soon as you start approaching it and keep that broom in front of you, it’s going to run away. There’s no such thing as one of those things coming to attack you, so I don’t want anybody to panic.”
As for Penson, she said she will not be visiting her son’s home anytime soon.
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