Attenborough s lizard was car alarm
Sir David Attenborough. Picture: Getty Images/Dave Hogan.

Sir David Attenborough has revealed that he once used a large lizard as a makeshift car alarm during his travels.

The Bafta-winning naturalist, 86, caught a large chameleon in Madagascar to bring back with him to London Zoo.

But he realised he could use the creature as a security device for his car which already had a missing window from a break-in and could have been at further risk.

Sir David, launching a nature program at London's Saatchi Gallery, said: "The window was smashed so it was quite a bit of a worry: what are we going to do with all our valuable stuff in the car if we ever leave it? And so on.

"So I decided that what I would do is get this very big animal and put him on the steering wheel."

The television presenter then watched from a distance to see whether it was working.

"People were coming around and I watched them come round and go: aaargh; and nobody would dream of breaking into the car and stealing anything with that there, so it was very interesting."

Sir David explores the unusual anatomy of the chameleon in his forthcoming series Attenborough's Natural Curiosities which airs in the UK in January.

The West Australian

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