Man Dies - His Lizards
Are Hungry - You Don't
Want To Know The Rest

By Scott Flander
Philadelphia Daily News

If you live alone, and you drop dead in your apartment one day, you don't want to have six-feet-long, flesh-eating monitor lizards running around the place.
You just don't.
Because they're not going to get fed, and they're going to get hungry, and you're going to be lying there, and like we said, they're flesh-eating
And, aw, jeez, you don't want to have them running around loose, OK?
This is apparently what happened to poor Ronald Huff, of Newark, Del., who kept seven Nile monitor lizards as pets, and well, you can stop reading here if you want.
Huff hadn't been seen since Sunday, and when police went to his studio apartment yesterday morning to check on him, at the request of his family, they found him on the floor, dead, and some of his flesh-eating pet lizards were...are you sure you want to keep reading?
Well, OK, they were "feeding" on his body.
"They did a considerable amount of damage to this gentleman's face," said John E. Caldwell, executive director of the Delaware SPCA.
Huff was 42, and police say they don't know how or why he died, though the state medical examiner's office is doing an autopsy. There were no signs of foul play, said Newcastle County Police spokesman Trinidad Navarro.
Police won't speculate on whether the lizards actually attacked and killed their master. But Caldwell doubts it.
"I think this gentleman died of natural causes," he said. "I don''t think the lizards killed him. Without being fed for two to three days, they took advantage of the situation due to hunger."
Had Huff been alive, he would have been able to fend off a monitor lizard, said Caldwell.
Huff's lizards, which he kept despite a county ban on them, ranged in length from 2 feet to about 6 feet, and from 2 pounds to 25 pounds, Caldwell said.
Two of the lizards were in handmade, wooden, crate-like cages, though five were running loose in the apartment, said animal-control officer John Saville.
Caldwell said the lizards seemed to have free run of the apartment. Holes were cut in doorways for them to go through.
The SPCA also found several large plastic containers of hissing Madagascar roaches, a common pet-food for lizards, said Caldwell. They also found a cat, which was in good shape.
The lizards themselves seemed to be no worse for the wear, said Caldwell.
"They looked good," he said. "They were healthy and robust."
The SPCA will try to get the cat adopted, and place the lizards with a zoo, or with a professional who takes lizards around to schools to teach students about reptiles.
The roaches, said Caldwell, "were disposed of."
If you follow the gossip columns, you may remember that last summer, Sharon Stone's husband's barefooted toe was bitten by a monitor lizard at the Los Angeles Zoo.
Don't ask.

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