Francis Dayer heaved a sigh of relief on Wednesday night after Kerala Forest Department officials carried away a monitor lizard and nine eggs it had laid during its stay at his house in Palluruthy.
Mr. Dayer said he grew anxious when the lizard, which he had rescued and placed in a cage after spotting it in a neighbour’s house, began to lay eggs.
He informed the local police about the reptile, which aroused a lot of curiosity among local people.
A forest department official said the lizard had been taken to the rescue centre in Kodanadu, where it will be kept under observation for two days. If found healthy it would be released into the wild, he said.
The official said monitor lizards were commonly found across Kerala in bushes and they made homes on trees.
They were protected animals though not listed as a threatened species of lizards. This being their breeding season, monitor lizards often stray into the open and are sometimes caught by people. They usually lay eggs under sand heaps and dry leaves. The eggs hatch in the hot sun.
In the early days, people hunted monitor lizards for their skin, which is considered the choicest hide for making the ethnic drum Udukku. The forest department official said there was a time when itinerant vendors from Tamil Nadu sold monitor lizards on the wayside.
However, action by the forest department had curbed this practice.