Ryan Nelson of Grants Pass said he was taking his young children inside for their baths when he saw the 60-pound reptile in his peripheral vision, KTVL-TV of Medford reported Tuesday.
"I heard a noise. I thought it was cats at first. And I looked and it's a -- what I thought was -- an alligator at first," Nelson said.
"It freaked me out. I was just boggled about why it was in my yard and how it got here and how long it's been here because the kids are out here playing all the time."
Nelson said his wife phoned MB Reptiles, which sent Dalton Brown to capture the Nile Monitor. Nelson and Brown said it took several minutes to capture the lizard, which had taken refuge under the family's deck.
A neighbor claimed ownership of the lizard. MB Reptiles said he will be able to take the lizard home if he presents proof of ownership and compensates the pet store for the time it has been in its care.