Libertyville Lizard Launches Lady Onto Picnic Table

Suburban residents not so thrilled with African lizard on their patio

Betty Moran is freaked out, according to her husband, Jim.  He may be freaked out, too, but guys aren't supposed to talk about those sorts of things.

It seems there's a big lizard living under the couple's porch.  

Betty stepped out onto her Libertyville patio last week and was met with the lizard's glare, blue forked tongue fully extended, the Daily Herald reported.

"I jumped up on the picnic table ... ran inside, slammed the door and called my neighbor," the 66-year-old said.

Having watched the 2- to 2 1/2 foot lizard eat a mouse "in a single gulp," the Morans know it's carnivorous, but they've been assured that the visitor won't hurt them.

Sam Sweet, professor of Zoology at the University of California Berkeley, said, "Just pick it up."

Betty's not going to do that.  Likely, Jim won't either.  Their hope is that they'll be able to trap and relocate it, although Betty has said that she secretly is hoping a coyote may get to it first.

Sweet said, after looking at pictures the Morans sent him, that it's an African savannah monitor lizard. But, there are no savannah's in Libertyville.

"It appears to be someone's pet that escaped after being well cared for several years," he told the Herald. "My guess is that the publicity will reunite it with its owner. Savannah monitors are really harmless."

If the lizard survives the coyotes, then, perhaps its owner will come and, as Sweet suggests, "just pick it up."

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