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Lizard found in Heathrow Airport
Credit: SWNS.com

Staff at London's Heathrow Airport were surprised to discover a rare lizard scurrying around the baggage area last week.

The 12-inch-long monitor lizard was found loose in the baggage sorting area of Heathrow’s Terminal 4. Airport staff managed to capture the lizard, which they believe was brought into the country illegally.

“We don’t know for sure, but we think the reptile may have been placed in luggage in an attempt to bring it into the UK illegally,” an officer from the Border Force Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) said in a statement. “This must have caused it considerable distress so it’s a miracle it did not die from shock, the cold or being run over.”

The monitor lizard, also known as Varanus Bengalensis, was not yet full grown. The species is capable of reaching up to 6.5 feet in length. They are typically found in India and Southeast Asia and sustained on a diet of crickets.

The lizard is currently being held by a specialist center near Heathrow until CITES can find a proper home for it.

Although it may have been a shock for travelers and staff to discover a loose animal in the airport, at least it wasn’t aboard a flight. Within the past year, passengers have found a five-foot-long snake and three different scorpions aboard three different flights.