Officers catch huge lizard that terrified Florida neighbors

In this Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018 image provided by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), an escaped pet Asian water monitor liza

In this Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018 image provided by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), an escaped pet Asian water monitor liza

In this Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018 image provided by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), an escaped pet Asian water monitor liza

In this Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018 image provided by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), an escaped pet Asian water monitor liza

DAVIE, Fla. (AP) — Florida authorities have caught a huge lizard that has terrified residents of a suburban Miami neighborhood for months.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said Thursday the Asian water monitor lizard measures more than 8 feet (2.5 meters) long.

The lizard is an escaped pet. It was first reported loose in August in a Davie neighborhood. Residents said it lurked in their backyards and scratched at their patio doors.

Wildlife officers and Davie police officers caught it Tuesday after getting a tip from a resident who said the lizard frequently appeared on his property around midday.

A wildlife commission statement says the lizard will be returned to its owner, who received a criminal citation for its escape.

Owners must have cages to keep these lizards as pets. It's illegal to release nonnative species in Florida.