Large lizard believed to have escaped Little Ray’s in Hamilton has been found

A monitor lizard held by a keeper at Little Ray’s Nature Centre. The reptile was found after believed to have escaped the Hamilton facility on June 21, 2021. Little Ray's Nature Centre

A private zoo in Hamilton says a large lizard that was believed to have escaped the facility in June has been found – under a desk.

The director of Little Ray’s Nature Centre says ‘Markhor’ – a one metre (3.5 feet) three-pound African monitor lizard – found its way through a small slot inside a piece of furniture and stayed there for nearly two months.

“It’s about a three inch gap underneath the front desk,” an admittedly embarrassed Kevin Dungey told Global News.

“He seems to have squeezed himself in there and has spent the entire time there ever since.”

Read more: Large lizard may be on the loose in central Hamilton

Dungey says the reptile was found after it voluntarily moved from it’s hiding spot, likely to search for food.

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He said the desk had to be taken apart to safely remove Markhor.

The specialist says going months without food or movement is not necessarily irregular for this species of water monitor.

“Reptiles being cold-blooded they can go for long periods of time without food,” Dungey said.

An initial examination has revealed the stowaway is no worse for wear after his June 19 disappearance.

Initially, it was believed the lizard escaped the facility via a rear door of the building at Barton Street East and Gage Avenue North.

The centre alerted the public saying the three-year-old male lizard was “no threat to people or pets” but probably would be nervous and should not be approached if spotted since he was ‘quick’ and hard to catch.

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Read more: Lucy the bearded dragon returned safe after being taken from Lethbridge pet store

Hamilton police said they had no reports of any reptiles being lost or spotted in the city over the last few months.

The city’s animal control department was also notified, recommending residents not approach if seen.

Dungey says he and staff initially ruled out their facility as a hiding spot after an extensive search of the 4,000 square foot property.

“I am very surprised that we found him in the facility,” said Dungey.

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