Here's something you don't hear every day. Police are on the hunt for Africa's longest lizard that somehow got loose in New York.

A 4.5 foot Nile monitor lizard has been roaming around in Attica, New York, a small village between Rochester and Buffalo in Wyoming and Genesee Counties for two weeks. "Nothing surprises us here in Attica anymore now does it," said Attica Mayor Nathan Montford.

A resident was moving out of his apartment on July 29 when the lizard got out of its cage. It climbed over 100 feet into a nearby tree and several attempts to recapture the lizard were unsuccessful. Animal Control even set up live traps without much success.

Attica Police received several calls about the lizard making its way into the Tonawanda Creek across the street. On August 9, the lizard was found in a neighboring yard next to the Creek. The woman said the lizard made its way into her backyard through a fence line. An extensive search turned up nothing.

"I feel as though the public needs to understand a bit about this creature lurking throughout the Village," said Mayor Montford. "There is no need to panic. Just like with most animals, we have around, this guy is not much different. Chances are it is more afraid of you than you are of him."

Residents in the area are being advised to keep an eye on small pets until the lizard is captured. It will bite and does secrete venom. However, it is not fatal to humans.

The Nile Monitor Lizard requires temperatures ranging between 82-90 degrees and will warm itself in sunny areas. Its main source of food is small rodents and on occasion large mice and rats.

The police department is in contact with the New York State DEC and working to capture the lizard. In the meantime, if you see the animal do not approach it. Call the Attica Village Police Department at 585-591-0881 or the Village Office at 585-591-0898 immediately.

"Hopefully, we can capture this beautiful animal and get him to a more suitable habitat once again," Mayor Montford said.

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