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From Bangkok to UK: 6-Inch Exotic Monitor Lizard Sneaks Into Traveler's Suitcase

Apr 11, 2017 05:54 AM EDT

An exotic monitor lizard secretly took a 6,000 mile ride from Thailand to Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire.

A report from Express UK said the lizard snuck into the luggage of a tourist who spent his holiday in Thailand. The unsuspecting tourist found the reptile in his luggage as he was unpacking. Fortunately, the kind tourist reported the incident to authorities concerned.

RSPCA Animal Welfare Officer Steve Wickham in a statement said, "Despite being zipped up in a suitcase for at least 24 hours, the monitor lizard appeared to be in good health."

"I took the lizard to a specialist exotics center to be checked over by a vet and cared for, where it ate almost straight away. The long journey must have made them very hungry!" he added in a quote cited by United Press International.

Wickham asserted that the incident should be a reminder to tourists to double check their luggage whenever visiting another country.

Derby Telegraph noted that the reptile was identified as a cloud monitor lizard, which is a protected species in its home country.

Cloud monitor lizards can be distinguished by their yellow spots covering their brown-grey bodies. Their nostrils lie mid-way between the eye and snout. Ecology Asia notes that on average, they can reach 1.5 meters with a snout that is 60 centimeters long.

They are terrestrial animals that are good in climbing trees. Cloud monitor lizards are native to Asian countries such as a Thailand, Burma, Malaysia, Singapore, Java and Sumatra.

Singapore National Parks note that monitor lizards are important scavengers of ecosystem since they are carnivorous and usually feed on carrion. They kills their preys with their venom. However, their venom is mild enough to not affect humans.

Poaching of monitor lizards exist in some countries. Their skin, oil and meat are considered valuable. Some countries believe that their oil is an effective medicine.

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