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LOOK: Monitor lizard injured during demolition job released after treatment

In the X-ray, you can see the damage to the monitor’s vertebra. Picture: South African Association for Marine Biological Research

In the X-ray, you can see the damage to the monitor’s vertebra. Picture: South African Association for Marine Biological Research

Published Oct 15, 2023

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Durban — The monitor lizard that suffered a spinal injury during the demolition of a patio has been set free after being treated at the South African Association for Marine Biological Research.

Nick Evans shared the good news on Friday afternoon, saying that after lots of TLC and professional treatment, it (lizard) was finally ready to be set free recently.

In August, Evans rescued five lizards from under a massive concrete patio that was being demolished by Rasscon Construction and Development CC at a home bordering the Palmiet River. One of the five lizards was injured by a jackhammer, much to the horror of the team.

They had taken great care in helping Evans extract the first three lizards, desperate not to injure them. With this one, they did not know it was there until the concrete broke away, Evans said at the time of the rescue.

He said that when he arrived, the lizard looked dead. It was stuck under collapsed concrete slabs. He shifted them away and noticed two punctures on its back, one between the back legs, and a more severe one between the front legs. It was hard to assess the damage as it was covered in dust.

He gently moved the concrete and was relieved to see movement. The lizard was very much alive, and actually, had not lost much strength at all.

Evans thanked Rasscon Construction and Development CC for their efforts in saving the lizards.

“As you can see, these lizards are fast. They also have no interest in attacking, as you’ll notice,” Evans said.

Last month, Saambr reported that the lizard was recovering well under the care of its herpetologists and veterinary staff. Evans had taken the lizard to Dangerous Creatures in August.

The worst of the two wounds. Despite the fractured spine, it has full mobility. Picture: Nick Evans.

On admission to uShaka Sea World’s rehabilitation centre, the lizard was assessed, and it was clearly evident that the wound it sustained was deep and involved the underlying spinal column.

Radiographs taken of the area showed some damage to the vertebra. The nerves, however, were luckily unaffected. The monitor was given antibiotics, anti-inflammatories and fluid therapy. The wound was cleaned, and topical treatment was applied.

uShaka Sea World clinical veterinarian Dr Caryl Knox said the lizard’s condition was improving slowly day by day and he has started eating well. The wound had also started to heal.

In the X-ray, you can see the damage to the monitor’s vertebra. Picture: South African Association for Marine Biological Research

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