Justice has been restored in Derbyshire, England, where local authorities ruled that Thor, a monitor lizard who loves outdoor walks, may return from exile. The town hall chiefs of Derby have reportedly determined that, because their community has no laws on the books specifically banning lizards from local green spaces, Thor may visit the park. He just has to wear a leash, out of deference to dogs and small children.
Thor’s human, 54-year-old reptile enthusiast Gary Smith, is pleased with the verdict. “I mainly walk him for exercise and fresh air,” Smith told U.K. newswire SWNS. “Also I just like to let people see him and maybe experience touching him.”
Last summer, Smith was walking three of his lizards — he has a bunch, all different kinds, as well as scary spiders and snakes — in Derby’s Markeaton Park when a ranger approached him and escorted him out, telling him his animals were dangerous.
“I turned around and said, ‘You have got dangerous Rottweilers and Alsatians in the park,’” Smith recalled to the Derby Telegraph. “But no, it wasn’t good enough and I had to leave.”
He subsequently started a business, Gary’s Reptile Experience, bringing his collection to assorted area events. That way, he can still give the people what they want (lizards) without breaking any laws. And giving them that regular human interaction makes the reptiles more sociable, Smith explained. He knows his brood’s temperament and how to keep them under control, but some (for example, this miniature Godzilla, who measures five-feet-nine-inches snout to tail tip) can still be dangerous when left to their own devices.
“I am covered in scratches and if they dig their claws in they would really do some damage,” Smith told the Telegraph. “They crawl up your body as well or they will dig them [their talons] in your head.”
So it’s best to keep them exercised and appeased. Smith told Metro that Thor, an even-keeled and “strong lad,” enjoys the park’s water features, clawing the trees, and warm weather. And yeah, is this not the face of a happy, contented boy?