Irascible iguana pulled from pool
FAYETTEVILLE — Godzilla, a 3-foot-long iguana, was chilling in someone’s backyard pool Monday when Animal Services plucked him out of the water and took him to the shelter.
He’s been very grumpy since.
Turns out the irascible reptile isn’t a fan of having his picture taken, either. Animal shelter manager Tony Rankin wants hazard pay for trying to take a picture of Godzilla to post to Facebook.
“He whipped me with his tail right on the back of the arm,” Rankin said. “It stung like crazy.”
Animal services got a call a couple weeks ago about a large lizard running loose at Lakeside Village Apartments off Gregg Avenue. He was found stuck in the guts of a pickup but wouldn’t come out . Animal officers relented because they couldn’t find the vehicle’s owner.
On Monday, a resident of a nearby home called after spotting something swimming, uninvited, in his pool. The officers got a net this time.
“He was having a good ol’ time,” Rankin said. “He was not happy to leave. It was hot and he just found a nice, cool pool to swim in.”
Green, or common iguanas, can grow up to 6 feet long and weigh 11 pounds. They live mostly in the rain forest canopies of Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean Islands and southern Brazil.
Iguanas, although among the most popular reptile pets in the United States, are “quite difficult” to care for properly, according to National Geographic. Most die within the first year of captivity.
Rankin has worked at the shelter since 2001, and said
“He was having a good ol’ time. He was not happy to leave. It was hot and he just found a nice, cool pool to swim in.”
— Tony Rankin, animal shelter manager
Godzilla is probably the third iguana he’s seen. A bearded dragon that was much more polite came through a few months ago. Rankin estimated the shelter takes in three or four pythons every year.
Most people don’t realize how much care exotic reptiles require or don’t take their pet with them when they move away, Rankin said.
Shelter employees hope the owner will come forward. Godzilla will be a guest for a few days before becoming adoption-eligible.
Bold residents are encouraged to fill out an adoption form.
“We are certainly looking for someone with experience based on the way this one behaves,” Rankin said. “It’s not a first-timer’s iguana.”