To people living in the warmer parts of the States, the idea of finding a little reptile friend crawling around your house isn't exactly uncommon.
Florida is the most infamous for this phenomenon, thanks to the number of alligators that live in the Everglades and find their way into civilization. The cold-blooded creatures like seeking out places to keep warm, and are known to crawl into heated water pipes and the like, where they end up causing issues and almost definitely spooking the neighbors.
Even when dealing with something nowhere near as scary as gators, it's still not an uncommon thing to see little geckos, bearded dragons, and other scaly critters roaming around in warmer climates. Most of these little guys are harmless, and are really just looking for a place to hide out during bad weather.
Of course, this can lead to some unwelcome surprises for the people who these reptiles decide to shack up with, and most recently, a Riverside, CA family got one of the biggest shocks of all when they discovered a giant monitor lizard in their backyard...
Craig Williams, a resident of Riverside, called animal control when he found the massive lizard in his and his family's backyard. According to Williams, the lizard was "sunning itself."
Upon arrival, Officer John Hergenreder was able to capture the lizard relatively easily, explaining to SFGate that "It did not try to escape when I walked up to it, but it did start to hiss loudly. It sensed I was coming to grab it."
The giant lizard was brought to the Western Riverside County/City Animal Shelter, where it was identified as a crocodile monitor lizard, a relative to the Komodo dragon usually found in New Guinea. That's not the craziest part though; it was the fact that it was actually somebody's pet!
Two days after it was picked up by animal control, a man arrived at the shelter and picked up the lizard, who is named "Chopper." While it isn't illegal to own a crocodile monitor lizard, animal control did comment that they are not common pets, as they typically need very specialized care.
How would you react to finding a crocodile monitor lizard in your backyard?