WATCH: Firefighters Wrangle Massive 4-Foot Lizard Stuck High in a Tree

by Taylor Cunningham
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New Jersey firefighters responded to an unlikely call this past spring when a woman walked out of her house to see a massive 4-foot lizard sunbathing in a tree.

On May 22nd, the Swedesboro resident was so surprised by the sight that she called the Woolwich Fire Company thinking the animal may be stuck. Police, animal control, and fire crews arrived on the scene and soon identified the beast as a monitor lizard.

As a video of the event shows, an animal control officer managed to pull the lizard from a branch with a rope connected to a pole. Once it was on the ground, she had to use force to wrestle the creature into a cage as it squirmed and attempted to bite the captor.

“You are so brave,” someone in the background yells.

Monitor Lizards Are Not Native to the United States

Monitor lizards are not native to the United States. The animal’s natural habitat is in Australia, Asia, Africa, and parts of the Pacific Islands. So it was understandably shocking to find one in an East Coast neighborhood.

There are around 80 different types around the world, including the Komodo dragon. They range anywhere from a few inches to 10 ft long. The mostly carnivorous creatures often eat eggs, birds, small mammals, and sometimes other lizards. However, they’ll occasionally feast on fruits.

The animal likes to keep its distance from humans. But if provoked, it can bite and claw, as the lizard in the video proved.

In a Facebook post, the Woolrich Fire Company explained that the animal “was transported to the county facility” and later went to “a new home.”

The department did not say what type of monitor lizard was living in the tree. But according to Reptile Jam, the Nile monitor lizard has become an invasive nuisance in the States. People illegally introduced the animal in the 1990s and escaped pets created populations that have since made certain reptiles and fish their prey and depleted the populations.

The Nile monitor can grow as large as 7 feet and attack pets and small children, so removing this particular pest was a priority.

And in the Facebook comments, several locals praised the firefighters for helping to remove the creature. As they shared, it had been spotted in the neighborhood on several occasions, and it was an unwelcome guest.

“Thank you to all involved,” wrote Mary Juckett Durham. “This has been in our neighborhood since [the] first sighting on Thursday!”

“Thank you all so much for coming and getting it!” added Suzanne Esfahani. “You all were amazing! Our heroes!”

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