Abandoned Iguana Found in Box, Rescued in Longmont

February 27, 2019
Tommy, a 2-year-old iguana, was found in a box in a Longmont alley on Sunday and taken to the Colorado Reptile Humane Society.

A Longmont animal control officer rescued an iguana that was found Sunday in a box left in an alley.

Someone found a box taped shut in an alleyway near Ken Pratt Boulevard and Longs Peak Avenue and saw that an iguana was inside, according to Ann-Elizabeth Nash, executive director of the Colorado Reptile Humane Society.

An animal control officer brought the iguana to the reptile shelter, which has a contract to take strays found in Longmont.

Fortunately, the iguana was found in good health before temperatures dropped overnight.

“The animal’s in perfect shape, so it seems possible that somebody literally taped it up in a box and dumped it there on purpose, hoping somebody would find it,” Nash said, adding that there was even reptile bark in the box.

The 2-year-old male, which is named Tommy, would not have survived a night out in the cold, Nash said. When temperatures drop to 40 degrees Fahrenheit, she said, iguanas will start getting cold and lose the ability to hold onto a branch, falling off trees.

“Reptiles are going to perish more quickly outside than a dog or a cat,” she said.

Tommy, which is specifically an iguana iguana, is in good health. He got his nails trimmed, as he has big claws and is in the “really rambunctious” stage of life right now, Nash said.

He also has a “super blue coloration” that some breeders have added to iguanas, she said. He is 3 feet long and will continue to grow.

While an iguana might sound like a cool pet, Nash said it’s not easy to keep the lizards. When Tommy is listed for adoption in two weeks, his future owner will need a 6-foot-tall cage.

“Iguanas are big and they’re smart and they can be problematic,” she said. “I very much enjoy working with them, but I’d never want to tell somebody they’re super easy pets to have.”

Only about four reptile strays are found in Longmont each year and brought to the humane society. Sometimes the animal’s owner is looking for it, but often it’s an animal that has been abandoned.

While the humane society will take in reptiles and amphibians, it has limited space and won’t take certain animals for which it doesn’t have room. Nash urged pet owners to be responsible in caring for their animals, even if they have found their pet is not a good fit.

“Sometimes the animal you have that you don’t want, you’re going to have to hang onto it a little while until a placement can be found. That is a legal responsibility,” she said. “And if we’re going to have animals in the community, we have to do right by them.”

Madeline St. Amour: 303-684-5212, mstamour@prairiemountainmedia.com