I meet the strangest people, um lizards, when I walk my dog.
The day started out nicely enough when I decided to take a short drive to a local conservation area to check out the savanna and get some exercise. I was all excited - Hey, a savanna, and they allow dogs! Who knew what glorious adventures awaited us. "You up for an adventure?" I asked. She seemed pumped. And eager to get there.
DOG is my Co-pilot. (She keeps her eyes on the road for me if I have to send a text . . . JUST KIDDING! I'm not stupid. )
It turned out to be a very quiet, beautiful place to take a walk.
This particular area contains "600 precious acres of tallgrass savanna, a rare ecosystem. The preserve also includes wetlands, woodlands, prairie and open field ecosystems offering a variety of habitats that attract a diverse bird population." Yeah, birds. No mention of exotic lizards. But they have a Wildlife Discovery Center there too and I guess the "Wildlife" gets antsy if they can't walk around a little now and then.
She can sense something's coming.
This thing was HUGE. Five feet long.
Ugly as sin, too.
At least it was on a leash. But I'm telling you, the thing scared the heck out of me. Upon further inquiry it was determined that this was not your ordinary large lizard - No, it was a celebrity lizard! Imagine! An Asian water monitor generously donated by actor Nicolas Cage. Poor Nick had to travel a little too often for work and was not able to take proper care of his beloved pet. So he dumped it here to be with us devoted dog walkers.
After I got home I looked up Asian water monitors:
"Captive juvenile water monitors will do well on a diet that consists of fish, frogs and an occasional newborn rodent. As adults, water monitor diets can include more rodents and other small mammals, insects, mollusks and fish."