The RSPCA and London Fire Brigade were called to rescue a mischievous iguana who managed to escape from his enclosure and climbed up a large tree in the garden.


Two-year-old Spike, had managed to escape on Sunday 3 June after his owners had put his enclosure in the garden so that he could enjoy some of the hot sun and fresh air.

But when when they checked to see how he was doing, they realised he had somehow managed to open the door and had escaped.

The owners searched the garden, and luckily managed to spot Spike – but the bad news was he was some 30ft up a tree in the garden.

Jennie Campbell, who was looking after Spike for her son, who is a Royal Marine Commando and based away, said she had her husband tried to get him down throughout the day and evening, but he was too high and in no mood for coming back.

After Spike had been up the tree for 24 hours and there was no way to get him down the family contacted the fire service and the RSPCA on Monday 4 June for help.

RSPCA animal collection officer Kirstie Gilliard attended and seeing that Spike was so far up the tree she called the fire service for help.

She said: “The branch that Spike was on was very flimsy and wouldn’t have held the weight of the ladder, so myself and the firefighters decided it was best to pitch the ladder against the trunk and cut the branch whilst holding a salvage sheet underneath. This worked very well and as the branch naturally lowered down I was able to catch Spike and return him to the family – he was then put back in his enclosure in the house so he could then warm up after his little adventure.

“I would like to thank the firefighters for all their help. They were absolutely brilliant and I am so pleased it was a successful rescue. I’ve been called to many cats stuck up  trees, but this is the first time I’ve had to help rescue an iguana from one.”

Jennie added: “We are so grateful to the RSPCA and firefighters for rescuing Spike. We really didn’t know what to do as we had tried everything to get him down, but he was too high up for us to reach. Luckily Spike’s colouring  is so striking that my husband was able to spot him in the tree, he really did have quite the adventure, but think he was glad to be back and able to warm up again under his heat lamp.”

A London Fire Brigade spokesperson said: “Just like in this instance, the first thing to do should be to call the RSPCA if you see an animal in difficulty. If assistance from firefighters is required, the RSPCA will call us.”

It is good for reptiles to be allowed the opportunity for natural sunlight, but as they warm up they can become very quick to move, especially on a sunny day. Reptiles, particularly snakes, can be extremely good escape artists, so owners are always reminded to check their enclosures are secure first to avoid an unwanted escape.

Anyone who would like further information on how to care for exotic animals should visit:

The RSPCA urges anyone thinking of owning a reptile to consider adopting one of the many rescued reptiles that are currently being cared for by the animal welfare charity.

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