The lizard was found in the Butterworth area. Background: Google Maps. Inset: iStock.

A large monitor lizard took people by surprise in a residential area in Penang, Malaysia on Tuesday.

The 30kg reptile was found in a drain in the car park of the Butterworth Court Complex on October 2, The Star reported. Abdul Aziz Ibrahim, the squad head of the Northern Seberang Perai Civil Defence Force said a call was received from a concerned member of the public at 10:59am.

Ibrahim’s team set about extracting the 1.5-meter-long creature from the drain using a rope. However the lizard broke loose, and a chase ensued.

“It took us around 20 minutes to secure it,” said Ibrahim, who went on to say that the lizard would be released back to its natural habitat, and that this was the largest monitor lizard they had ever caught.

Monitor lizards are active predators whose broad-ranging diet includes insects, snails, snakes, mammals and even lesser lizards.