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Massachusetts woman mistakes dead Argentinian lizard for alligator

Reptile Rescue Coordinator Tom Bunsell handles an Argentine black and white tegu.

Reptile Rescue Coordinator Tom Bunsell handles an Argentine black and white tegu.  (2015 Getty Images)

A woman caused a scare when she mistakenly thought a dead reptile that washed up along the banks of a Massachusetts river was an alligator.

The Eagle-Tribune reports Deborah Salerno and her husband were exploring a new boat ramp on the Merrimack River in Methuen on Saturday when she saw the scaly creature floating in the water.

Salerno's husband thought it could possibly be a caiman, the gator-like reptile spotted on the streets of nearby Lowell earlier this month.

Not knowing what to do, Salerno called the police. Officers responded, but they determined that no further action was needed.

The manager of a nearby pet store identified the creature as an Argentine black and white tegu, a large lizard that's legal to own as a pet in Massachusetts.

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