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She sees 4-foot ‘surprise’ in tree, calls 911: NJ firefighters

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Firefighters in New Jersey rescued a 4-foot reptile, a monitor lizard, from a tree in New Jersey, they say. A woman found the animal sunbathing in the tree.

Screengrab via Woolwich Fire Company on Facebook

A woman spotted a 4-foot “surprise” resting in a tree outside her home and called 911, firefighters in New Jersey say.

Then, an unusual animal rescue ensued in Swedesboro on May 22, according to the Woolwich Fire Company.

Fire crews, police and animal control arrived to rescue a large, scaly reptile — a monitor lizard — that was sunbathing in the woman’s tree, the department’s Facebook post said.

“Not your ordinary basic animal rescue assignment.”

An animal control officer is seen getting a hold of the creature as it tries wriggling out of her grasp before she ultimately puts it into a kennel, according to video shared to YouTube by NJ.com.

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The monitor lizard after it was rescued in Swedesboro, New Jersey on May 22, according to the Woolwich Fire Company. Screengrab via Woolwich Fire Company on Facebook

“The lizard was transported to the county facility for departure to a new home,” the Woolwich Fire Company said.

Monitor lizards are “mostly carnivorous” shy creatures that prefer to keep a distance from people, according to Singapore’s National Parks Board.

They are native to Africa, Asia, Australia and certain Pacific islands, according to Encyclopedia Britannica.

The fire company did not specify where the lizard in the woman’s tree came from in the Facebook post.

McClatchy News has contacted them for more information.

Swedesboro is roughly 50 miles southwest of Trenton.

Julia Marnin is a McClatchy National Real-Time reporter covering the southeast and northeast while based in New York. She’s an alumna of The College of New Jersey and joined McClatchy in 2021. Previously, she’s written for Newsweek, Modern Luxury, Gannett and more.




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