Home News 1.2-metre Nile monitor lizard rescued from Westville pool

1.2-metre Nile monitor lizard rescued from Westville pool

Durban – In a bid to cool off as temperatures peaked around 31°C on Friday, a Nile monitor lizard took a dip in a swimming pool at a Westville North home much to the surprise of the resident.

Snake catcher Nick Evans said the resident contacted him for assistance but by the time he arrived at the property, the lizard had disappeared.

“They are usually able to get out, so I assumed that’s what it had done. But the 1.2-metre-long lizard took cover in the small weir area. Looked quite funny seeing this large lizard peeping back at me through the holes of the plastic cover!”

Evans said he had expected the lizard to come flying out to escape when he removed the cover, however it showed little reaction and he grabbed it behind its head.

“It was healthy, and fine the next day. It was blind in one eye, which I’ve never seen before. It also had a number of scars on the tail, perhaps from a dog. It’s lived a hard life.”

Evans said a friend studying Nile/water monitors came to collect data from the lizard and released it for him.

“Monitor lizards are still relatively common in parts of Durban, particularly along rivers and streams. Sadly, many are killed by dogs, on roads, or hunted by people for food or traditional medicine.

“This is a protected species. It is illegal to kill, keep or sell this species,” he said.

“If you see this reptile in your garden, don’t panic, it’s not Godzilla. It won’t attack your family. They’re after smaller things, such as crabs, rodents, snakes, anything they can overpower.”

Evans appealed to the public to keep dogs away from Nile monitor lizards.

“I’ve never seen an injury on a dog from one of these lizards, but I’ve seen plenty of monitors killed by dogs. You can leave it to move off, or call someone to remove and relocate it.”

1.2-metre Nile monitor lizard rescued from a Westville pool. Picture: Nick Evans

Last month a Nile monitor lizard in Westville lunged at Evans’s face as he grabbed its tail.

“It had run through two or three properties, being chased by dogs, before climbing up a tree. Luckily it had been chopped down a little while ago, so it wasn’t high.”

Evans said he placed a ladder against the tree.

“All I could reach was the tail. I knew how it would go … I grabbed the tail, and the large lizard leapt off the tree to get away, but when it realised it couldn’t, it lunged at me. Obviously being in the position I was in, it was close to my face, and very nearly got me. I just saw a flash of its open mouth swing past. Then it latched on to my shirt.”

Wearing welding gloves, which go up to the elbows, Evans managed to get the lizard off his shirt.

“Can’t blame it for being grumpy. It had been chased by dogs, and now a human had it by the tail. That must have been terrifying for it!”

A monitor lizard hiding in a tree after being chased by dogs in Westville North. Picture: Supplied