The owners of a house in London got a shock when they discovered a 4ft long, green iguana abandoned in a plastic box outside their home.
The owners of the property on Antrobus Road, Chiswick, discovered the lizard on January 16 – a day when the average temperature locally was 3C – with just a blanket and towel inside the box for warmth.
“This beautiful reptile is incredibly lucky to be alive,” animal rescue officer Jade Guthrie said.
Ms Guthrie was the responding officer when the residents who found the reptile called the RSPCA.
“Iguanas are endothermic which means they need warmth to survive, so when they are kept in this country they require a heat lamp,” she explained.
“Being dumped in the cold in a box with just a blanket is totally unacceptable – had he not been found he would have been at death’s door before long.”
The charity said it is very difficult to look after iguanas properly here in the UK.
Especially as green iguanas, which come from the Caribbean and Central and South America, typically live up to 15 years old and can grow to nearly 5ft long.
The reptile has been rehoused at RSPCA Brighton in West Sussex – the only dedicated reptile rescue centre within the RSPCA nationally – where the exotic animal team has nicknamed him Eddie Lizard.
“The RSPCA is appealing to the public for any information they can provide,” Ms Guthrie said. “They can contact me in confidence on 0300 123 8018.”
RSPCA Brighton currently has 10 other iguanas looking for homes, all of which were abandoned, unwanted or neglected.
The charity said that while the abandoning of lizards is “sad” it is “not unusual” and “it is concerned (that) the rising cost of living, and energy, could be a factor.”
“We know times are tough right now – but abandoning an animal is never acceptable,” Ms Guthrie said.
“The RSPCA has launched a new cost of living hub to signpost owners to the lifelines which are available right now as prices rise, including specific advice for exotic animals like this iguana.”