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You Can Walk Nic Cage's Pet Lizard Around a Lake Forest Park

Today is Nic Cage Day across the Curbediverse, a day for celebrating The Legend and his legendary real estate hijinks. Why? Because Nic Cage.

Last year, Lake Forest's Wildlife Discovery Center received an overnight FedEx box containing what would become their most popular attraction: Nicolas Cage's speckled Asian water monitor. According to various reports, the four foot long lizard arrived at the animal sanctuary in April 2013 through a mutual friend after the busy actor and exotic animal collector no longer had time to take care of him. The Varanus salvator that he named "Michael" was dubbed "Grug" after Cage's starring voiceover role in The Croods and soon made appearances on WGN Radio and other outlets.

When we contacted the Center for an update on Grug, Curator Rob Carmichael assured us that he is not only alive and well, but that he's "a huge hit with the public as we let folks take him out for walks on nice days with a harness and leash under close supervision of me and my staff." While Cage has not had a chance to visit his old friend, he reportedly asks from time to time about the beloved pet he raised from birth, who is now feasting on a diet that includes mice, quail and Trader Joe's filet mignon (yep).

The cold-blooded creature-loving Coppola (and compulsive spender) previously donated his two pet King Cobras, Moby and Sheba, to a zoo in 2008 after neighbors threatened to sue along with an octopus doubling as an acting coach, and a two-headed gopher snake to New Orleans' Audubon Zoo in 2009. Cage reportedly even has a tattoo of a monitor wearing a top-hat and cane on his back that he described in 1994 as his version of other cultures' manhood initiation rites.

But for all his animal love, it's probably a good thing someone took Grug off Nic's hands. After all, the notoriously bizarre actor can clearly be seen slapping a live bearded dragon (AKA hallucinatory "fucking iguana") in this scene from the 2009 remake of Bad Lieutenant. And there's that time he fed a chameleon a cigarette in 1989's Time To Kill. Grug may be a local star, but he probably shouldn't collaborate with Cage on-screen anytime soon.
Jason Prechtel

·2013 in review: Nicolas Cage's lizard a star attraction in Lake Forest [Sun-Times]
·Nicholas Cage donates pet monitor lizard to animal sanctuary [Mother Nature Network]
·Johnny B. takes Nicolas Cage's lizard for a walk [WGN Radio]
Nic Cage Day coverage [Curbed Chicago]
·Nic Cage Day coverage [Curbed National]