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California homeowner finds surprise in backyard — a big lizard

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — A lizard that can grow to be 8 feet long has been found in Southern California, thousands of miles from its native land, and authorities think it’s a pet gone astray.

The 4-foot-long crocodile monitor was spotted sunning itself on top of a hedge Wednesday afternoon in the backyard of a Riverside home.

The crocodile monitor is a relative of the famous Komodo dragon. It’s native to Papua New Guinea and Indonesia — not California — but it is legal to own them in the state.

It’s green and yellow with big claws, a long tail and a forked tongue.

The big lizard is now being held by Riverside County’s animal services division. If the owner doesn’t claim it, the monitor will be sent to a sanctuary for exotic animals.

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