Venomous 4-foot lizard captured on plane at Florida airport

By Ben Hooper Contact the Author   |  May 26, 2017 at 2:30 PM
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May 26 (UPI) -- Wildlife authorities were summoned to a Florida airport where a stowaway 4-foot black throat monitor lizard was found on a cargo plane.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue said the agency's Venom Unit responded with Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers Tuesday night to Miami International Airport, where a crew member had discovered the stowaway lizard on a cargo plane.

The Venom Unit was able to capture the lizard using a dog crate.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue spokeswoman Erika Benitez said the lizard was checked out by a veterinarian and turned over to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

"Black throat monitor lizards are native to east Africa -- Tanzania, to be exact," Benitez told WPLG-TV. "Like all monitors, if not handled regularly, black throat monitors can become aggressive and lash out at you with their tails, puff up their body, hiss and even deliver a nasty bite. But despite their ability to really hurt you, black throat monitors are known to be pretty docile and have mild temperaments in captivity."

It was unclear how the lizard ended up on the plane. Authorities did not say where the plane had been before arriving at the airport.

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