A 2½-foot long, fork-tongued lizard is living large in suburban Chicago -- way too large for the woman who spotted it outside her Libertyville home.
She laughs now, but at the time it was no joke. Moran first spotted the creature on her back patio Friday. She was standing on the patio when it crawled by her, went under her Jacuzzi and came out with a mouse.
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"It has teeth," she said. "And when it gobbled that mouse, it's just not for me."
Moran and her husband had the piece of mind to snap the lizard's photo for evidence. They called in the Lake County Forest District, which so far has been unsuccessful in attempts to entice the lizard into a cage.
"It's definitely an African Savannah Monitor," wildlife biologist Gary Glowacki said. "It was probably someone's pet that escaped."
Glowacki pointed out that the monitor can be aggressive if agitated.
On Tuesday, Glowacki searched all around the Morans' home on Deer Trail Lane, but to no avail. He said it's probably taking refuge from the cool weather, but that was little consolation to Moran. She prefers the predators around her house to at least have some fur.
"I'll face a coyote, a mountain lion, anything. But this? Not my bag," she said.