Nov 18 2005 South London Press :
RSPCA inspectors were called to reports of an alligator in a popular park. They rushed to Tooting Bec Common after a member of the public discovered the three-and-half foot "gator" on Sunday morning. But once on the scene, RSPCA Inspector Ian Gough identified the creature as a Bosk monitor lizard. It had died, unable to survive in cold weather. The reptile was the second monitor lizard to be found in the wild in South London in the last few days. On Thursday last week a Nile monitor was discovered alive in a Lambeth park. Monitor lizards feed on a diet of mice and chicks and can grow up to 6ft long. The RSPCA recommends the reptiles are not kept as domestic pets because of the space required and the expertise needed to keep them in good health. Inspector Gough said the Bosk monitor had probably been kept as a pet but escaped. He said: "We were called at around 9.30am on Sunday to reports of an alligator on Tooting Bec Common. "It was reported to be lying at the common next to Elmbourne Road. "When I arrived there I realised it was a Bosk monitor. "It was dead and had lost one of its legs. It might have escaped from someone's home or been dumped there after it became ill. "It was in a poor condition. "Monitor lizards come from warm climates and cannot survive in cold conditions like the current cold snap."