A 4-foot-long lizard discovered suntanning in a Riverside backyard, thousands of miles from its native land in the southwestern Pacific, was reunited with its owner.
The 4-year-old male crocodile monitor named Chopper was spotted sunning itself on top of a hedge Wednesday afternoon. The Riverside County Animal Services said Chopper's owner picked up the stray lizard from a shelter Friday.
The crocodile monitor is a relative of the famous Komodo dragon. It's native to Papua New Guinea and Indonesia — not California — but it is legal to own them in the state.
The crocodile monitor, also known as varanus salvadorii, can grow up to 8 feet long and is considered a top predator on the island. It's green and yellow with big claws, a long tail and a forked tongue.
Video of Chopper was posted on the agency's Facebook page.