Large pet lizard on the loose in Southwest Florida

Posted at 6:31 PM, Oct 24, 2017

The owner of a 6-foot-long monitor lizard is hoping someone finds his pet, after escaping from his outdoor enclosure in northern Collier County on October 14.

"His safety is my main concern," said Kevin Hennings, who uses the monitor lizard, named Poseidon, for educational presentations. "I just want people to realize, he's not going to hurt you."

Unlike Nile monitors, Poseidon is an Asian water monitor, and owning one does not require a permit. Hennings said that Poseidon is a big part of the family - literally.

"When I first got him, he was about 4 feet," Hennings said. "He's pushing about 6 feet, 50 pounds right now. So he's a beast of a lizard for sure."

The lizard has not been lazy. On the Facebook page Ask! My SWFL, several people have spotted him in various locations in north Collier County, most recently in the Twin Eagles golf community.

"The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is actually surveying the entire property," Hennigns said. "They're on the look-out for him. They're setting up traps and they're surveying with their biology team."

An FWC spokeswoman said they did canvass the area in Twin Eagles, and are now asking the public to report any sightings of the lizard by calling their Exotic Species Hotline: 1-888-IVE-GOT1.

Kevin doesn't recommend that anyone try to catch Poseidon themselves, as any animal that feels cornered may try to defend itself. But under normal circumstances, the big lizard is tame.

"He is a puppy-dog tame lizard, as they say," Hennings said. "As docile as they come, and he's a long-time family member of mine, so I'd like to keep it that way as long as possible."