Giant lizard terrorizes Florida family after moving into their backyard

PHOTO: A six-foot water monitor has been visiting a familys back yard in Davie, Fla., for the last three weeks.PlayWPLG
WATCH Large lizard is keeping Florida trappers on their toes

A 6-foot-long lizard has been terrorizing a Florida family for weeks after taking up residence in their backyard.

"He's a big fella, and he's scary," homeowner Zachary Lieberman told "Good Morning America" of his unwanted houseguest.

The creature, which officials believe could be a water monitor lizard native to Southeast Asia or a Nile monitor lizard native to Africa, has been stalking around the Lieberman's Davie neighborhood and coming into their backyard for the past three weeks, he said.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, along with a professional trapper, have been trying to catch the creature and get it away from people but have not yet been successful.

PHOTO: A six-foot water monitor investigates the back door to a familys home in Davie, Fla. WPLG
A six-foot water monitor investigates the back door to a family's home in Davie, Fla.

Lieberman said his own attempts to lure the lizard away have also proved fruitless.

"He got hip to the idea that I was trying to lure him away and he booked it right back into the forest," Lieberman told ABC Miami affiliate WPLG.

PHOTO: A six-foot water monitor has been visiting a familys back yard in Davie, Fla., for the last three weeks. WPLG
A six-foot water monitor has been visiting a family's back yard in Davie, Fla., for the last three weeks.

But despite the neighborhood's chilly welcome, it seems the cold-blooded reptile isn't going anywhere.

"Some of my other neighbors have seen him out by the lake. He sunbathes in the backyard," Lieberman told WPLG.

According to Reptiles magazine, the Asian water monitor is the third longest lizard in the world and can grow up to 9 feet and live between 12 and 20 years in captivity.

Nile monitors can grow up to 5 feet in length and many of the ones found in Florida are likely escaped or abandoned pets or their offspring, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

In addition to being unsightly, the lizard's mouth is laced with bacteria and its bite can be dangerous.

The lizards also have sharp claws and powerful tails, which is why the Liebermans said they are worried about their two young children being exposed to it. Both Nile and water monitor lizards can swim, which also makes the couple concerned about the kids' safety in their pool.

"I've got a 2-year old and a 4-year old, a little boy and a little girl, and they are scared that this thing's going to come back," Lieberman said.

Some neighbors believe the lizard is an escaped pet, but officials have not confirmed it.