He’s big, he’s green and he wasn’t invited. The zoo in the Quad Cities has a new temporary visitor, but the creature isn’t on display. In fact, the hungry critter was abandoned outside the zoo several days ago. Tom Stalf is director of the Niabi Zoo in Coal Valley, Illinois. Stalf says a visitor came up and said there was a cardboard box in the parking lot that cars were driving very close to with a note attached that read: “I need a home and I’m four foot long.” Inside, zoo staff found a four-foot long male iguana in need of medical attention. Stalf says the big green lizard had an abscess on its neck, and other problems. Someone put a harness on the animal and as it grew, the harness was left in place and cut into his body so there’s scarring. Stalf says iguanas can live 15 years and grow up to six feet in length. This one is estimated at eight years old and it’ll be in quarantine and treatment of the abscess for at least a month. Stalf says this is -not- how responsible people treat their pets and the zoo is not a “dumping ground” or pet adoption agency. He says people need to learn about an animal before they buy it, especially a creature like an iguana. Law enforcement authorities in Iowa and Illinois were contacted to help determine the owner of the iguana but they’ve been unsuccessful. It’s illegal to abandon an animal and the act carries a fine of up to 500-dollars. Stalf says the zoo will keep the lizard until it’s healthy and then they hope to find a private home for it.
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