A reptile wrangler nearly lost a finger when he was dive-bombed by a furious bird while attempting to rescue a monitor lizard from a local backyard.
In a Facebook post outlining the incident, snake rescuer Nick Evans said that he received a call from a “suburban garden” near his office in South Africa. The resident had spotted a monitor lizard roaming their property and asked Evans to remove it.
Evans explained that this was a particularly high-priority rescue, as the resident’s dogs posed a major risk to the lizard. “With dogs in the property it was in, and dogs on the other side of the wall, it really wasn’t safe for it,” Evans said. “Dogs often kill these reptiles.”
Additionally, there were no bodies of water near the home, making it an unsuitable habitat for this specific species. The lizard in question was a Nile monitor, a large semiaquatic reptile. As their name suggests, they’re native to Sub-Saharan Africa and along the Nile.
After retrieving a stool from the homeowner, Evans reached over the wooden fence, plucking the massive lizard from among the planks. Clutching the reptile in his hands, the reptile rescuer stepped back down to the solid ground below. Before he could make another move, however, he was attacked by an unexpected predator.
A furious Indian Mynah swooped down from a nearby tree, attempting to peck at the lizard. Luckily, Evans was wearing thick gloves, protecting both his hands and the monitor lizard from the angry bird. “Never before have I been dive bombed by a bird while holding one of these lizards,” Evans wrote. “But just look at the Indian Mynah in the video! It had a nest nearby.”
Reptile Wrangler Releases Nile Monitor Lizard Into the Wild
After calmly laughing off the bird’s attack, Nick Evans took several measurements of the monitor lizard, including its length and weight. According to Evans, the data is going “towards an ongoing research project.”
With his analysis complete, Evans transported the lizard to a more suitable habitat and released it back into the wild, where it would be safe from dogs and angry mynah birds. He then reminded the public that the Nile monitor lizard is a protected species, meaning it’s illegal to kill, keep, or sell these reptiles, a fact pointed out by Evans’ followers as well.
“Given the Indian Mynah is an invasive species and lequavaan (lizard) is protected… That bird has some cheek,” one user joked. “Was so glad you got it, Nick, phew! Instead of the dogs or mynahs,” another said.
Among the largest lizards in the world, the Nile monitor has been roaming the earth for millions of years. They’re highly aggressive and resistant to training, making them poor pets, to say the least. “There are few lizards less suited to life in captivity than the Nile monitor,” lizard expert Daniel Bennett wrote in his book Monitor Lizards. “When fighting for its life, a Nile monitor was a more dangerous adversary than a crocodile of a similar size.”