Leguaan pops into school for masterclass
TINY Tots Daycare and Playgroup pupils and staff were treated to a visit from a friendly reptile on Thursday, which resulted in a learning opportunity for the youngsters. A vehicle passing by the school situated in Cassia Road, Empangeni, noticed a 1.2-metre leguaan making it’s way from the canal in the nearby greenbelt to the school’s premises and immediately notified gardener Dumisani Mnguni. Mnguni sprung into action and called owner Bernie Perini to come and assess the situation. ‘The leguaan was hiding deep in thorny plants, so I asked my son Tristan van der Spuy to help me catch it,’ said Perini. ‘I was concerned about the children’s safety, but also scared that someone would kill or hurt it.’ Perini called the Empangeni SPCA but they were on a call-out at the time, so experienced reptile catcher Fred Lubbe was approached to assist. ‘Tristan managed to get the leguaan out of the bush by pulling it out by the tail, but it twisted very quickly and attempted to bite him. Tristan dropped it and it quickly scampered back into the bush.’ Lubbe arrived and swiftly caught the reptile and bound it before placing it into a bag. The learners then had the opportunity to rub it’s tail under supervision. ‘People need to be aware that these creatures live in the greenbelts and near rivers or canals and often branch out in search of food and water,’ said Lubbe. ‘The important thing to know is that these reptiles are extremely strong and fast and have very sharp claws. ‘Once they bite you, their jaws lock and they do not let go.’ According to Lubbe, a leguaan feels threatened when approached and it’s first line of defence is a tail whip or a bite. ‘If one spots a leguaan in the garden, one can throw a large blanket over it to calm it down or stay indoors and monitor it’s movements until a professional with the right equipment arrives.’ ‘If it is in a park or greenbelt, one can leave them alone unless they become a nuisance.’ For professional help call Fred Lubbe on 082 4417708 or 066 2433377, or the Empangeni SPCA on 071 1744746. For any emergencies contact Debbie on 083 4823866.
Fred Lubbe contains the reptile before placing it into a bag
Tiny Tots learners Lee-Che Cloete, Asibonge Hadebe, Leah Steenkamp and Ronin Herselman point out the spot where the leguaan was found on Thursday