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11:26 PM Fri, Nov. 16th

Officers catch huge lizard that terrified Florida neighbors

An escaped pet Asian water monitor lizard is shown after it was captured. It was first reported loose in August in a Davie, Fla. neighborhood. Residents said it lurked in their back yards and scratched at their patio doors. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said Thursday the Asian water monitor lizard measures over 8 feet long. (Eric Suarez/Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission via AP)

An escaped pet Asian water monitor lizard is shown after it was captured. It was first reported loose in August in a Davie, Fla. neighborhood. Residents said it lurked in their back yards and scratched at their patio doors. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said Thursday the Asian water monitor lizard measures over 8 feet long. (Eric Suarez/Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission via AP)

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In this Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018 image provided by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), an escaped 8-foot long pet Asian water monitor lizard is shown after it was captured. (Eric Suarez/Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission via AP)

DAVIE, Fla. — Florida authorities have caught a huge lizard that has terrified residents of a suburban Miami neighborhood for months.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said Thursday the Asian water monitor lizard measures more than 8 feet (2.5 meters) long.

The lizard is an escaped pet. It was first reported loose in August in a Davie neighborhood. Residents said it lurked in their backyards and scratched at their patio doors.

Wildlife officers and Davie police officers caught it Tuesday after getting a tip from a resident who said the lizard frequently appeared on his property around midday.

A wildlife commission statement says the lizard will be returned to its owner, who received a criminal citation for its escape.

Owners must have cages to keep these lizards as pets. It’s illegal to release nonnative species in Florida.