When the Zoo received a male lace monitor lizard in the late 1930s, it was a very unusual and welcome addition to an already notable reptile collection. Lace monitor lizards can reach 6 to 10 feet in length—including an approximately 4-foot-long tail they use with whip-like action as a defense.
By the late 1950s, “Old Boy,” as he was called, was well known by guests and staff alike. Over the years, Old Boy developed a reputation for being a “crusty character,” and time didn’t seem to have any softening effect at all. Curator of reptiles Charles Shaw wrote in a ZOONOOZ article that although Old Boy had been at the Zoo for decades, “...his disposition has not improved with age...he remains quite willing to unleash a painful blow with his tail anytime anyone wishes to become too familiar.”