Iras­ci­ble iguana pulled from pool

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NORTHWEST ARKANSAS - STACY RYBURN

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.”


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