RIVERSIDE (CBSLA) — Craig Williams points out the spot where an exotic reptile was soaking up the sun in his backyard. It is now with animal control – it’s called a crocodile monitor lizard and is not from anywhere near Southern California. Williams’ dogs were the first to notice the lounging lizard.

“The dogs were upset. So we got them into the house right away,” Williams said. “Because that type of lizard could do a lot of damage to them and they could do a lot of damage to it.”

Williams says it’s not clear when the reptile showed up – but he thinks it was several days ago.

“We had heard it earlier – about 2 o’clock in the morning, attacking a bird in a tree. We came out expecting to find a pile of feathers but didn’t find anything.”

After Riverside County Animal Control picked it up, it didn’t take long for their experts to figure out where it was from.

“Natively they come from New Guinea where they live in the trees in the tropical rainforest,” Reptile Expert Kim McWhorter said.

So now the question is:  where is the croc lizard’s caretaker?

“We have just a few neighbors. So we’ve been around to talk to the ones on the immediate sides of us. Nobody that we can find has lost a lizard.”

It is legal to keep the crocodile monitor lizard in California, so if the owner comes forward and can prove it’s theirs, animal control says they can have it back.

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