A man has been casually strolling in the Markeaton Park in Derby with his giant lizard ever since he got the unusual pet nine months ago.
After the lizard scared other dogs, however, the council informed the dad-of-one to keep his pet on a leash if he wanted to continue walking him in the public.
Obeying their orders, 54-year-old Gary Smith bought a thick lead for his black-throated lizard called Thor. Since then, the pair has been taking regular walks in the park and the complaints have appeared to vanish.
As Gary revealed, several park users, including dog owners, were worried that the 5-feet critter would injure their children or pets. Now that Thor is on a leash, however, the pair is often approached by strangers who want to take a picture with the lizard.
Besides Thor, Gary the reptile fan also provided a home to 6 other lizards, 31 snakes, and even 7 spiders.
“I had reached an agreement with the council to say it’s ok to walk as long as he is on a lead, just like a dog. I mainly walk him for exercise and fresh air,” the 54-year-old lorry driver said.
“Also I just like to let people see him and maybe experience touching him. He can run really quickly and he wouldn’t just run in a straight line. He’d be all over the place, it would be like trying to catch a chicken.
“He could do a lot of damage, his claws could slice your arm or head open. But that would be very out of character. Thor has a really cool temperament, he’s not aggressive.”
Speaking of his lizard’s character, the father-of-one added:
“When he’s had enough, he’ll whip his tail around. Some people get scared and think all reptiles will do is bite and scratch you. But I want to show that is not the case.
“I tend to walk Thor in the summertime and basically when the weather is good. He loves the trees and water in the park, he likes to get his claws into the trees. He eats braising steak about four times a week, he’ll eat rats and fruit.
“He weighs about three stone and is about five foot nine inches tall. He’s a strong lad. He gets more active when his temperature gets warmer, so when it’s colder he’s not that active.
“He’s friendly and is used to being touched and handled.”
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