A teen girl was spotted with the coolest pet at Bangkok’s Pet Expo last week, where she proudly walked her lizard with a cute purple strap.
The unidentified girl was spotted taking her hia out at the Queen Sirikit Convention Center where folks snapped a few photos of the unusual sight that went viral.
Wildlife guardians were unimpressed.
Adisorn Nuchnamrong of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, said monitor lizards, commonly referred as Tua Ngern Tua Tongor most commonly as just ‘hia!’ in Thai, are entirely illegal to keep as a pet as they’re a protected species.
Although they can be commonly found swimming free in canals, rural areas or Lumpini Park, owning one requires official permission, Adisorn told Thai PBS.
However, reptile experts claim this particular pet is much more Hi-So than a Thai monitor lizard. According to a Facebook group which adores exotic pets, the creature seen in photos is a Savannah monitor, which are often hunted in Africa for export as meat, leather and pets.