Shoppers in a 7-Eleven store got more than they bargained for when a giant monitor lizard walked in and climbed store shelves in Nakhon Pathom, a town just outside Bangkok.
People can be heard screaming and laughing in the background as the lizard reaches the top of a shelf and sprawls out near an ice machine.
A 7-Eleven employee said that while the animal was guided out of the shop, rescuers did not catch it. “It just ran away into the bushes,” the employee told a British tabloid. “I’ve never seen a monitor lizard that big in my life.”
Narumpa Tangsin, who was shopping for food when the giant monitor began its own grocery run.“They’re dangerous animals, especially when they’re angry,” she said. “I stayed back and recorded it on my phone. I guess that shops have everything, even for lizards.”
Monitor Lizard named Godzilla
On social media, the enormous reptile was quickly nicknamed Godzilla, as users shared footage of it swinging from the shelves. A store employee called the police who then brought reptile handlers to catch the lizard.
The wildlife officials dragged the lizard out of the 7-Eleven store and lured it towards a nearby forest.
Asian Monitor lizards tend to live in canals and ponds in considerably humid climates. It’s unknown why the monitor wandered into the 7-Eleven but it could have been looking for food due to recent months of dry weather with little rain.
Monitor lizards can live up to 22 years in captivity and some can reach almost nine feet in length, with males generally growing larger than females. It’s the second largest lizard in the world behind the Komodo dragon.
Monitor lizards generally reside in swamps and woodlands, and are excellent swimmers, although they are known to wander into urban areas, too. They are not usually aggressive unless provoked.
“They are formidable animals with a powerful tail, sharp claws and teeth,” said Rob Ward, of Britain’s Amphibian and Reptile Conservation team, adding that they have the ability to inflict serious injury when threatened. “When it comes to interacting with humans, defensive behaviors including tail whipping, inflating themselves and hissing are most likely if threatened,” he said.
While it remains unclear how exactly the creature ended up in the store, locals say it may have been trying to escape humid weather, and Ward pointed to the lizard’s powerful sense of smell, noting that the carnivore may have been drawn to the scent of food.
According to Ward, monitors are most active during the day, which may explain why Thailand’s 7-Eleven lizard popped up around lunchtime.