A married couple are turning heads in their home town by going for walkies with their 4ft-long monitor LIZARD on a lead.
Animal lovers John Robinson, 60, and his wife Pauline, 57, can regularly be seen taking a stroll with giant reptile Bow on the streets of Loughborough, Leics.
They take the 8kg (17lb) beast to the local park and down the shops before returning home where he likes to curl up on the sofa or by the fire to watch TV.
Incredibly the one-year-old Savannah Bosc Monitor lizard even likes to be cuddled by John who has to wear two jumpers because his claws are half-an-inch long.
Bow lives in a £400 custom built 8ft-long vivarium but is fully toilet trained and often left to roam around the Robinson’s house and garden.
But the couple have to constantly reassure worried dog owners that their pets are perfectly safe- because Bow is “well fed” on a diet of mice and locusts.
Dad-of-two John, a retired electronics engineer, said: “People do stop me all the time to take photos, they’re just gobsmacked when they see Bow.
“People must think I’m mad when they see me in two jumpers carrying a giant lizard, especially when I’ve had a triple heart bypass.
“Bow often just crawls on me because he wants picking up. He really is just one big baby.
“Bow goes outside and goes to the toilet, walks back in over the step and back into the house, it is like having a dog.
“We go out for about an hour-and-a-half at a time so he gets a good old walk every day. He gets out and about a lot.
“Its like with any animals, if they get no exercise the get fat so we like to keep him fit and active.
“He has a lovely nature now. I can be sitting on the sofa and he’ll just come and put his head in my hands.
“We have a special bond. The other day I was feeding him boiled egg and he had my thumb in his mouth, but because he knew it was me he let go.
“But I wouldn’t recommend that will anybody else though as you would lose your thumb.”
The couple have been keeping reptiles for nine years but it wasn’t until John’s bearded dragon died that they decided to get a larger animal.
Bow was only seven-inches long when John bought him 14 months ago from a pet store for £50 – even after watching the little lizard bit the shop assistant.
The scaly pet is currently 4ft (1.2m) long but could reach a whopping 5.5ft (1.7m) by the time he is fully grown.
And the giant lizard is fed a diet consisting of dead mice and chicks, locusts, scrambled egg, prawns and mince meat.
Pauline, who works as a cleaner, added: “He loves to go out and about into town and people just look at you in disbelief.
“Some say, ‘isn’t he beautiful?’ while others say ‘isn’t he ugly?’ Dog walkers can look a bit worried sometimes.
“But we reassure them that he is well-fed so he doesn’t really bother with the dogs when he goes up the park.
“He likes to go to Pets at Home and we can even take him around Maplin on his lead.
“We never let him off it because if he saw a rabbit of something he would be off after them in a flash.
“Then he gets home and will just cuddle up on the sofa watching TV or have a roam about the house – he comes and goes as he pleases really.
“He is just a big baby now. He was pretty vicious at first lashing out with his tail and going for us but you have to persevere and he is nice and calm now.
“You just have to spend time with them, now he is just like one of the family.
“When we are cuddling him people mistake him for a baby – until they see the massive tail.”
* The Savannah Bosc Monitor lizard is native to Africa and can be found in areas of Senegal, Ghana and Sudan.
They have powerful limbs and sharp claws to help with digging and climbing and are normally a dark orange or green colour.
Adult sizes vary between 2.5ft (30ins)- 5ft (60ins) including the tail with most being around the 3ft mark (26ins).