Angie Preciado mindlessly opened her laundry room door one day, as she does so often at her home in Arizona, and was immediately met with a loud hissing sound and a gigantic animal scurrying away. It was wildly unexpected and understandably took her a minute to realize what was happening. As soon as she got a good look at him, she was in complete shock.
“Naturally I backed off, nearly ending up on top of my dryer,” Preciado told The Dodo. “He, luckily, went opposite of my direction and behind the laundry room basket. Upon escaping my laundry room and closing the door with a broom to cover the cat entry back into my house, I called my husband and told him … ‘There’s a Gila monster in the laundry room.’”
While the name might sound scary, the Gila monster rarely poses a threat to anyone. While they do have a very painful bite, they’re generally pretty sluggish and just want to do their own thing. Still, it was definitely jarring for Preciado to find one hanging out in her laundry room.
“I have absolutely NO idea how it got into my house or how long it was there, nor do I know if he ‘traveled’ throughout my house before ending up there,” Preciado said.
Preciado’s husband didn’t believe her at first when she told him about their new resident until he came home, lifted up the laundry basket and saw the confused lizard for himself. Preciado called the non-emergency fire department to see if they could help get the Gila monster back to where he belonged, and they had a similar reaction to the one her husband had.
“They, too, thought it would be something else, but they came anyways, and when the two gentlemen entered the laundry room and moved the basket, they were also surprised,” Preciado said.
The firefighters were able to gently place the Gila monster in a box and move him safely out of the laundry room. They released him back to his home several yards away, and Preciado was thrilled to see him back where he belonged.
Story: Caitlin Jill Anders