Nile Monitor Lizard

Nile monitors can live up to 20 years in captivity. They are the largest lizard species in Africa and can attain lengths of about 6.5 feet and weigh up to 17.8 pounds, although a typical adult averages 5 feet in length and weighs close to 15 pounds.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has cited a woman for allegedly releasing a lizard into the wild in Livingston Parish.

Jennifer Myers, 34, was cited for releasing a monitor lizard out of a window of her residence in Denham Springs, the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) reported Wednesday afternoon.

Illegally releasing a monitor lizard brings up to $950 in fines and 120 days in jail.

On Tuesday, agents were alerted to a social media post that alleged Myers had illegally released a Nile Monitor Lizard, the largest lizard species in Africa that can grow up to 6.5 feet in length and weigh up to 17.8 pounds.

During the investigation, agents were able to contact Myers at her residence, where she admitted to releasing the lizard.

Michael Lauraine, who claimed the lizard is his in a Facebook post, asked residents to be on the lookout for the lizard but not to approach it, as it may react “out of fear.” He said the lizard is currently anywhere from two to three feet in length.

“He is scared and he is very fast and can be dangerous, [so] the sooner I have him back the better,” said Lauraine, who claims the animal is legal. “He's only going to grow faster and faster so don't brush this (situation) aside. This is important.”

The lizard is still on the loose, and anyone who comes into contact is urged to contact LDWF at 1-800-442-2511.

The Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office is assisting the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries on the case.

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