The RSPCA has launched an investigation after an iguana was found abandoned in a local Winchester park last Friday (10 June) with a severely broken leg.
A member of the public found the lizard in the public park on Cromwell Road in the Stanmore area of the town and took him home in a plastic container before the RSPCA came to pick him up.
RSPCA inspector Jan Edwards said: “I noticed straight away that the poor thing was limping and wasn’t able to use his front right leg at all. I rushed him to the vets and he must have been in a lot of pain as the vet put him on pain relief immediately.
“He has since had his leg strapped up and is still quite poorly – it is going to take up to six weeks for him to be back to normal again.
“We have started an investigation and are very keen to find out why he was dumped in a park with a severely injured leg like this. This is especially cruel because iguanas cannot regulate their own body temperature and require a carefully-controlled temperature to be able to function normally.
“Green iguanas come from central America and need a specific diet and lighting when kept in captivity, otherwise they are prone to getting bone disease. Metabolic bone disease causes weakening of the bones and may have contributed to this iguana’s broken leg, though this has not yet been determined.
“Sadly we are finding more and more reptiles are coming in to our care and the RSPCA is experiencing widespread neglect of exotic animals.
“Anyone who is thinking about bringing an exotic pet into their family should research the needs of the animal thoroughly and make sure that you can provide everything that animal needs for its entire life.”
Inspector Edwards continued: “We have re-named him Tango because of his striking orange colouring.
“I just hope Tango makes a recovery that is as sunny as the colour of his skin as no animal deserves to be left out in the cold like this, particularly a beautiful creature as exotic as this.”
Anyone who has any further information about Tango or what may have happened to him is being urged to contact the RSPCA immediately by calling their inspectorate appeal line on 0300 123 8018.