A green iguana named Tulsa
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Tulsa the Green Iguana

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I ran the Charm City Reptile and Amphibian Rescue for 14 years (no longer in operation). Here is a story about one of the rescues, a green iguana.

The phone rang

One Sunday, I received a call from a police officer. My volunteers and I were cleaning cages at my house where the rescue was located. I’m not sure who was there, but I remember Chad was here, and a few others. I had just gotten a new-used Ford Escort wagon. Several of us piled into it, along with hooks, carriers, welding gloves and other supplies. Off we went!

We were called to Tulsa Road where there was a loose green iguana in someone’s yard. These iguanas are not native to Maryland. The residents were terrified and called 911. So many people think lizards can spit poison. Thank you Jurassic Park! The people were afraid of being melted or whatever they thought was going to happen to them.

To the rescue?

Of course, the policemen arrived, shook their heads and said, “This is above our pay grade.” At least they didn’t think the poor, frightened animal was going to spit poison at them. In addition, Animal Control wanted nothing to do with the entire situation.

We showed up, a rag-tag bunch with unusual gear in tow. I was worried that if we spooked the iguana, it would bolt straight up a tree – they can climb with amazing speed – and we’d never see it again.

Next, I stood with the carrier, door open, to receive our quarry. With gloved hands – iguanas can scratch the living crap out of you – Chad (or someone) grabbed the unwitting animal and thrust it into the cage.

The entire time we were there, a woman was shrieking out of the second floor window, “Did you get it? I don’t want to get poison on me!” and other helpful and encouraging words.

As we walked to the car with the lizard, two more police cars arrived. The policemen just wanted to see the iguana and take photos. Oh boy… I showed it to them. Tulsa, as we named it, had about half a tail with the very tip just starting to regrow. Tulsa had a lot of superficial scratches, bent spikes and was probably dehydrated. Subsequently, I applied antibiotic cream, Silvadene, on the cuts after washing them. What an awesome, mellow iguana was Tulsa.

I left business cards with the police and the homeowners in case Tulsa’s owner came forward, but that never happened.

Please leave your comments below. 

Read more by Holli Friedland.

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One Comment

  1. Holli, I can honestly say I don’t know a single person who had/has a relationship with an iguana! But now I do. Thx. for sharing.