Large lizard escapes, hunkers down under neighbor’s deck in Killeen

A Killeen woman is begging for help with the tegu lizard’s removal
Published: Aug. 30, 2022 at 12:51 AM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - An exotic animal is causing quite the commotion in one Central Texas City.

Khairah Ali-Allen says her neighbor’s giant lizard escaped and is living under her home on Dickens Dr. in Killeen--and it won’t leave.

“Anything that’s not in a cage or a tank: count me out,” said Ali-Allen. “I go to the zoo, I like animals, but I can look at them from afar, I don’t need to be up close and personal.”

The three-foot lizard, a two-and-a-half-year-old tegu named Aries, has been living under Ali-Allen’s patio for three weeks, she says.

“When I first saw her I said ‘woooo!’, and I think she heard me because I was up against the glass, and she turned around and her head stuck up straight and her little tongue came out at me,” said Ali-Allen.

Ever since then, Ali-Allen says her anxiety has been through the roof because of what’s under her deck.

“I’ve been having migraines, I can’t sleep, I’ve just been really on-edge, there may be a hole underneath the house, I don’t know,” said Ali-Allen. “They might attack me, she might be afraid of me, I’m a stranger, she may think that I’m a threat as much as I think she’s a threat, so we’re both in the same boat... except she didn’t call you all.”

KWTX went to try to spot the tricky reptile Monday with no luck.

Aries’ owner, a young man who lives two doors down and owns two other tegus, had set up a trap with a mouse at the deck opening, however, so far he’d been unsuccessful in corralling his sly pet.

On Monday he brought a friend with him to try to capture her with a homemade ketch-all, which didn’t work.

Next, they tried flushing her out with water, but still no luck.

Ali-Allen says she’s been calling Killeen Animal Services for help.

”Animal Control told me they cannot come because it’s (the lizard) under the house and there’s nothing they can do until she comes out,” said Ali-Allen.

KWTX made multiple calls to Killeen Animal Services, Killeen PD and City of Killeen officials Monday.

By Monday night, Ali-Allen said Animal Control had come to set out traps and lock-up her yard.

“They will be back tomorrow to try to fish her out,” said Ali-Allen. “They were able to see her.”

Adding urgency to the issue: lizards like Aries “brumate”, a survival tactic like hibernation where they will hunker down in one place through winter.

“If we don’t catch her, I’m going to be stuck with the lizard if he (the owner) doesn’t get it within two to three weeks, and he says the lizard won’t come out until March,” said Ali-Allen. “Somebody please just come and help me get his lizard, I don’t want it, I don’t like it, and it’s making my life a nightmare.”

Anyone who may be able to help with the lizard is asked to email rissa.shaw@kwtx.com (information will be passed along to Ali-Allen).