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Woman ticketed for releasing lizard; exotic pet still loose in Livingston Parish

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WALKER - There's a large reptile on the loose in Livingston Parish.

Michael Lauraine says his Nile monitor lizard was last seen near Alysha Drive and Joe May Road in Walker on Saturday. Lauraine posted on his Facebook page and a missing pets Facebook page Monday about the lizard, asking people to help find him.

"The more time that passes by, the bigger he will get and the more dangerous he will become," he said.

The two and a half foot-long Nile monitor is native to Sub-Saharan Africa and classified as an invasive species. Lauraine says the lizard will attack and urges whoever finds the lizard to not touch him.

"Please do not try to pick him up he doesn't know you and will react out of fear," said Lauraine.

Nile monitors can grow up to seven feet long and are opportunistic predators. They eat eggs of birds, large rodents, alligators, crocodiles, and turtles. They live to be 10-15 years old. Monitor lizards have established populations in some Florida counties.

Lauraine says he originally purchased the animal off Facebook about three and a half months ago.

The Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office says it's aware of the missing lizard and is working with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries on the case.

The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries announced Wednesday the woman who set the lizard loose, 34-year-old Jennifer Myers, was cited for illegally releasing the animal. She faces a fine up to $950 and up to 120 days in jail.

If you spot the lizard, call LDWF at (225) 765-2800.

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