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"Dinosaur" Still On The Prowl In South St. Louis


stltoday.com

It's still not a good time to be a bird in the Compton Heights neighborhood of St. Louis.

"The lizard is on the lam," says Shelley Donaho, whose son Zane, 17, owns the missing crocodile monitor that is presumed to be still roaming the area.

The 4-foot-long lizard, which feasts on birds and rodents, resembles a cross between an iguana and a dinosaur. Its aggressiveness is matched by sharp teeth, dangerous claws and deft climbing skills. It escaped last month from the family's home on Russell Boulevard after breaking out of a cage.

St. Louis Health Commissioner Melba Moore said the city's animal control division has not turned up anything yet.

"We'll just keep canvassing the neighborhood until we find the animal," Moore said.

Easier said than done, insists Donaho. The lizard's camouflage skin is ideal for surreptitious slumbering among the trees in its native South Pacific region.

"I don't think they'll find it," she said. "It's not like a dog that runs around on the ground - this thing can go wherever he wants."

That doesn't mean the lizard has been completely incognito.

Marie Schroeder, who lives on Russell Boulevard, said she heard noises outside the window of her fourth-floor condo on June 29. There was the lizard - reclining on an air-conditioning unit, where it stayed for a few minutes before scurrying farther up the brick building.

Schroeder said she also heard a slight thud, as if the animal had fallen from a higher floor.

"It must be a sturdy creature," she said.

It'll need to be, if nobody finds it before winter.

full story (with PIC)

posted: 7/6/2006

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