The Nile monitor is loose in the Village of Attica, and it is estimated to be 4.5 feet in length, according to a Facebook page dedicated to lost pets.
Monitors are not native to the United States and have a painful — but non-fatal — bite, experts say.
Attica Mayor Nathan Montford issued a public service announcement about the rogue exotic pet late Monday. Attica is about 30 miles east of Buffalo.
“Horses, bulls and of course, Nile Monitors…I mean, why not right? No King Kong, but we get Godzilla instead! Nothing surprises us anymore here in Attica anymore now does it?,” Montford wrote on the Voices of Village of Attica Facebook page.
“No need to panic! Just like with most animals we have around, this guy is not much different. Chances are it is more afraid of you than you are of him (should be anyhow). He is an apex predator, yes…therefore it is suggested to keep an eye on your small pets until the lizard is captured.”
News of the lizard’s escape has inspired a variety of reactions on social media, including irritation and condemnation at the owner’s choice of pets. However, it has also inspired a lot of humor, including some people who have posted recipes for monitor lizard entrees.
“In other news, the stray cat population in Attica has been cut in half,” Mark Beswick wrote on Facebook.
“Monitor lizard is a genius dinosaur. It can actually read (the) human mind,” Lagundi Flemix said.
“I hear they reproduce every 24 hours and survive off a diet of humans who over react about meaningless situations,” Ben Spaulding said.
Montford’s post noted the lizards are great swimmers, so people with water features in their yard should be vigilant.
“Hopefully we can capture this beautiful animal and get him to a more suitable habitat once again,” he wrote.
The lizard escaped its cage on July 29, as the owner was moving out of an apartment, Video News Service reports. It then made its way into a local creek, and has been sporadically showing up in backyards, the site says.
Nile monitors are a Sub-Saharan African lizard that grow to 5 feet and are among the invasive species that have plagued southern Florida, according to the Everglades Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area.
“There is no denying that a bite from any species of monitor lizard can be downright painful,” according to Reptiles.factsdiet.com.
“These are known to crush bones in humans. These are dangerous for skin, bone, and surrounding tissues. These lizards have the poisonous bite. The venom is not fatal for humans yet it can cause pain and illness.”