Relief: Lizards on the loose in North Carolina not venomous

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Friday, September 29, 2017
Picture of one of the lizards
Picture of one of the lizards
Wake Forest Police Department

WAKE FOREST, North Carolina -- Residents in one North Carolina town are breathing a sigh of relief after learning that apparently venomous lizards on the loose were actually not poisonous.

After initially issuing a warning, authorities said later Friday the animals are actually non-venomous Argentine Tegus.

Police first said they learned that three Gila monsters recently escaped from a home in the Bowling Green subdivision of Wake County.

A resident got a photo of one of the lizards and sent it to Animal Control, which forwarded it to a local veterinarian who specializes in reptiles.

Lizards on the loose in Wake Forest (video courtesy Jo Ann Sarmiento)

The veterinarian identified the lizard as an Argentine Tegu, which are not venomous and pose no danger to the public.

The Argentine Tegu cannot survive cold weather. Any that remain loose need to be captured and placed back into captivity. Anyone who spots one is urged to call Wake County Animal Control at (919) 856-6911.