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The Water Monitor

  • The Water Monitor

     

    Back in the late 80’s, maybe the early 90’s I decided I wanted a Water Monitor lizard. “The Asian water monitor is a powerful and intelligent reptile that has a prehistoric appearance straight out of Jurassic Park. It is also one of the largest lizard species on the planet. Asian water monitors grow quickly can reach eight feet.” An 8-foot-long lizard? Oh hell, I am IN!

    So I went to a place in Everett WA that had them (it’s a custom motorcycle shop now) and I talked to the gal who was on duty. She took me over to the reptile section and showed me all the lil scaly buddies and talked to me about the care and feeding. She excused herself when another customer came in for ‘A Dozen Mice’. I figured it was another snake-keeper and continued to look closely at the Monitors in the 100-gallon tank.

    There were 4 beauties, wonderful markings and semi-active in their enclosure. I was particularly attracted to one, a beautiful female who was watching me with a Jurassic Park stare. I put my hand against the glass and she came to me… Lizard Love and I was hooked. She was only $80 and almost a foot long already and I was desperately trying to figure out WHERE I would put her tank.

    “Oh, she’s a BEAUTY!” The voice boomed almost next to me and I was startled. Mostly that someone had managed to ‘get next to me’ without me hearing/seeing him. I stood up quick and stared at him. 6’6” or more, tattoos covered both arms, his neck and jaw. Crazy-Dred’s almost to his waist and insane blonde hair… like platinum, black tank top with a gold OZZY symbol on the front. Tattered, grungy Levi’s and engineer boots and a wallet chain almost to his knee completed the package.

    “Yeah, ya know I love these evil lizards, I’ve got 6 of ‘em… I dunno, maybe more. I bought one JUST like that mebbe 6 or 7 years ago. Damn she got big! So I had to give her her own room! Ha, how do ya like that uh?”

    All this dialog was delivered at Mach 2 amplitude, like he was talking to someone 6 feet away at an Ozzy Concert. I had decided that he was dangerous, but not to me right now. He just wanted to talk about Jurassic Lizards!

    “I’m JD. Glad to meet ya.” I stuck out my hand and he engulfed my hand with his monster-mitt and said “Tucker, friends call me Tucker.” Now, I’m 6’4” and have fairly large hands and Tucker’s hand buried mine! Then I noticed that his biceps were the size of my thighs and that I was looking UP at his face. I just hoped I never had to fight this monster…

    “Yeah I brought her home and she was just a lil lizard, cute as young titties but DAMN! She was quick as lightning and if ya didn’t move your hand away from her food? She was as likely to bite YOU as her food! Hahahahaa! So, after 3 or 4 years, I had to move her cuz she wuz getting big, see? Hell, she was in a 150 gallon tank! I had 40 lbs of weight on the lid But NO! She needed somewhere that was home! She was probably four an a half foot by now and I figured I had a spare room that I could convert to a good habitat.”

    “So this is what I did. I cut a big hole in the floor of my spare bedroom, see? Then I lined it with insulation and fiberglass (I’m a body man so I had spare stuff) and then I put stuff in there for her to climb around on. I used to go in there and have a beer or three with her, just to continue our relationship. Relationship is VERY important when you’re raising a Thinking Lizard!” and he tapped the side of his gnarly head with a thick finger.

    “Don’t ever let yourself think they’re NOT thinking… You can see it in their eyes, the way they act when you feed them or when they’re laying in a warm kiddy-pool and watching you drink a beer. They have (quietly) Intelligence.”

    “So I put her in the Lizzy Room and DAMN! She got big quick! In just two years she went from four and a half foot to over 7 foot! Can ya believe that?” He slapped my shoulder and my knees almost buckled. He had this manic light in his eyes as he stared at the youngling lizards in the tank. I was enthralled at his story and asked “So what happened?”

    Tucker glared at me with wide eyes and whispered “She tried to eat me! That scaly Bitch tried to eat me!” Now he was back to Mach 2 and he laughed loud and long and glared at me and said “It was my fault… every bit of it and if the cops hadn’t of come, I don’t know what would have happened!”

    I was shocked and asked “Cops? How did they get involved?”

    “It was MY Fault!” he almost roared in my face, and then quieter, “It was my fault, all of it. See, I always gave her a whole chicken every Friday (I always chopped it in half, of course) and would knock on the door before I went in (I’d do the same for you) and there she was, just drooling for her chicken and she charged the door (she had started doing that). I tossed the first half of the chicken and she caught it right off, no problem. She gobbled that chicken down like it was the last chicken she would ever see and now, she was maybe 3 feet from me and she knew I had some more chicken. She took a step closer to me and I tossed the chicken at her BUT! It hit her in the chest and my bloody hand was still out there, in her face.”

    “So, she tried to swallow my right arm!” He held out his arm and OMG! There were claw marks, bite scars and his hand was kinda ‘melted’. “Yeah, she took two lunges up my arm and I couldn’t do anything, her jaws being so strong ya know. She did all this on my chest too as she was trying to swallow my whole damn arm!” Sure enough, there were claw marks on his hairy chest when he pulled up his shirt.

    “Now, I don’t much like cops but this was a ‘Sitciation’ that needed professionals. So they get there and I’m tellin ‘Em ‘No don’t kill the lizard! She’s my baby!” (can you even imagine this scene) “Then they get out there batons (she’s almost to my armpit now hahaha) and start working them into her jaws and I start getting my arm back. My hand was burning like a bitch by now and they slowly got her off my arm! I tell ‘em she’s gonna be pissed so watch out for her tail!”

    “She kicked their asses but they got her back in the Lizzy Room and ya know what? She snagged the half chicken on her way in! Can ya beat that?” Tucker stood there for a moment, obviously savoring the memory.

    “So Tucker, what did you do with her after that happened?” I should have known his answer…

    “Happened to her? Well, she’s home right now. I made a chute to feed her the chickens and I still go in and have a brew with her, occasionally. I think she’s sexually mature now and since I’m the only male in her life, she is showing courting behavior but I don’t think I’m ready for that! HAHAHAHAAAA!”

    We shook hands and off he went, Lizard Man. I went home with a bag of beautiful fish for my aquarium, and I still love the lil ‘Dragons’… I just don’t want to have one who can ‘swallow my arm’.

     

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