Escaped Wilmington Lizard on the Crawl

August 6, 2018

WILMINGTON -- The owner of a 3 1/2-foot Argentine black and white tegu lizard is seeking help in the search for her beloved pet that escaped its outdoor enclosure at the corner of Salem and Woburn streets last week.

The 4-year-old omnivorous reptile named “Tiggs” fled the enclosure at some point between 3:30 and 7:15 p.m. on July 31, according to Liz Rose, who has owned the lizard since it was a hatchling.

“I’m really frustrated,” said Rose, expressing exhaustion from another day of hunting through the woods near her home for the adored reptile.

“I’m honestly having nightmares that he’s hurt somewhere,” she added. “I’m really attached to him, so I just want him back.”

Rose has distributed fliers notifying the community about her search, and posted images of Tiggs on social media.

“There’s so many places he could hide,” Rose said.

Rose has also set up multiple traps, using chicken and quail eggs -- a tegu favorite, according to Rose.

For tips in her search, Rose has been in contact with a man in Florida who catches tegus for a living.

Tegus have become somewhat well-known in Florida though they’re indigenous to South America.

According to a recent story published in the journal Nature, tegus are popular in the international live animal trade and are popping up in the wilds of Florida after escaping from their owners or being discarded by them.

Rose advises anyone who spots Tiggs not to approach the animal, as he could become frightened and flee the area. Rose added that the reptile could bite if someone attempts to handle him.

Anyone who spots the lizard should contact Wilmington Animal Control at 978-658-5071.

Follow Aaron Curtis on Twitter @aselahcurtis

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