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6 November, 2020

Dinosaur goes AWOL

Shane Coleman has been searching high and low all over Bayview Heights for his beloved ‘small dinosaur,’ Oscar.

By Tanya Murphy

The 1.8-metre-long pet lizard went missing on Friday, October 30 after escaping from his enclosure at Shane’s house on Wirrah Street near Toogood Road.

Shane said he had spent every day since then walking the streets, creek and forest near his home looking for his reptile best buddy.

“He does actually respond to his name, to me anyway. So I’ve been walking the bush near my house calling out his name.”

Shane said he wasn’t sure as to the lizard’s motivations for running away, though the presence of wild lady lizards in the neighbourhood could have something to do with it.

“He’s never tried to escape before, and I always let him play with me in the garden and I only put him in the cage when I’m asleep or at work,” he said.

“I’ve just recently moved here from the Sunshine Coast, which was difficult enough in itself because I had to find a landlord and housemates who were happy about living with a lizard the size of a small dinosaur. “I was in the process of building a mansion for Oscar in the back yard, and unfortunately the screws I used on the enclosure were faulty and Oscar has pushed out the wire and gone walkabout when I was at work.”

The lifelong animal lover who works in breeding corals for aquariums, said Oscar was very harmless and tame and he was worried about his ability to survive in the wild.

“I’ve had him for 15 years, since he hatched, so we have quite a strong bond.

“When he was smaller I used to take him places with me in my bag and he’s even slept in my bed before.

“He’s only ever eaten dead chickens and rats that I bought him from the pet shop so he’s never hunted.

“I don’t know how long he can survive in the wild, even though he’s kind of fat at the moment, so I do need to act fast to get him home.

“Lace monitors can trek up to five kilometres in a day, but I don’t think he would actually go that far.

“I think he’s going to be in a local’s backyard, or up a tree.

“I don’t think he would pose a threat to any pets and I don’t think he would ever try to bite someone, but he has sharp claws so if you see him, contact me, don’t try to pick him up.”

Shane said after he posted about Oscar’s disappearance on Facebook, the community had been very supportive in offering to help look for Oscar.

“I’ve already had eight false alarms since I reported him missing, because there are so many other lace monitors being spotted around the area. But I would recognise him straight away, because of his markings.”

One can only imagine the emotional scene if Oscar can finally be reunited with his doting dino-Dad.

“The longest I’ve ever been away from him was nine months, and when I came back he jumped straight out of his box onto me, and essentially hugged me for quite a while, so I think he will be really happy to see me again,” said Shane.

If anyone spots an animal matching the fugitive’s description in the Bayview Heights area, they are asked to try to take a clear photo of it and message it to Shane on 0424 150 542 for identification.

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