3-foot lizard recovered in attempted sale to undercover officer in Holyoke

Massachusetts Environmental police arranged to "buy" the lizard

Photo courtesy Massachusetts Environmental Police Department

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – An undercover Massachusetts Environmental police officer seized a 3-foot lizard indigenous to Africa outside the Holyoke Mall on Tuesday.

According to the Massachusetts Environmental Police Department, they received word that an individual was trying to sell a Nile Monitor Lizard through a Facebook group, and their undercover officer arranged a meeting to “buy” it.

On Tuesday, the two allegedly met up at the Holyoke Mall, and the individual was charged with possession of wildlife without a permit. The lizard is now at a facility licensed in the care of reptiles.

Although native to Africa, the Nile Monitor can be found feral in certain parts of the U.S. It is illegal to possess the species in Massachusetts without a permit.

Any animal listed in any rarity category of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species, any category of federal endangered species law, or listed on the Massachusetts List of Endangered, Threatened, and Special Concern species may not be possessed without a permit in Massachusetts.