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Florida man finds large non-native lizard on his front porch

By Ben Hooper

June 6 (UPI) -- A Florida man who thought he heard his girlfriend arrive home looked outside and discovered a more shocking sight on his front porch: a massive Asian water monitor lizard.

Erik Merlot said he investigated the sounds on the front lanai of his North Port home last week and ended up capturing video of the large, invasive lizard hissing at him.

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Merlot said animal control told him there was nothing they could do, so he called the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

"From the pictures I sent them, they said it was an Asian water monitor," Merlot told WBBH-TV.

The FWC sent a trapper, but the lizard fled the scene before they arrived. They set up a trap in Merlot's yard in case it returns.

FWC officials said most Asian water monitors in the state are escaped or released pets. They said the animals harm the native environment by eating the eggs of birds, turtles and alligators.

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