Stuart Thorn and chameleon iiAn escaped rainbow-coloured chameleon found in a garden in Rhyl has been safely returned home by the RSPCA.

The stray panther chameleon attracted plenty of interest after being found on 19 August, settled on a camellia plant in the garden of a Weaver Avenue property in the North Wales town.

A member of the public had initially mistaken the chameleon for a toy, and only realised what they had found when the animal closed one eye – appearing to wink!

RSPCA Cymru rescued the reptile, and issued a plea to the local community in the hope of finding the chameleon’s owner. He was transferred to specialist facilities in Herefordshire for care – before, thankfully, the owner came forward. The chameleon has been nicknamed Houdini by the owner since his escape.

Will Galvin, RSPCA animal collection officer (ACO) returned the animal to the home – just a short distance from where the initial discovery was made – on Wednesday (12 September).

The chameleon has since been nicknamed Houdini by the owner, following his escape.

ACO Galvin said: “We love happy endings – and it was great to be able to return this chameleon home. This story certainly captured the imagination of many across North Wales and beyond.

“The adventures of this chameleon are an important reminder as to the benefits of microchipping animals; and a reminder that exotic pets can often escape. Indeed, escaped exotics are an issue frontline RSPCA officers deal with all the time.”

Stuart Thorn, owner of the chameleon, said: “I was quite shocked to see my chameleon all over the local papers! In the hot weather, the windows had been open more to keep him cool – and he managed to escape and get out onto the streets of Rhyl! I’ll be making sure it stays closed from now on.

“It’s great to have him home. I’m very grateful to the RSPCA and everyone who responded to their appeal.”

Chameleons are tricky species to care for properly and show very little outward signs of illness. RSPCA Cymru encourages anyone thinking of taking on an exotic pet to thoroughly research the animal’s needs and only consider keeping if they are sure they can fully meet their requirements.

Should you wish to help RSPCA Cymru with work like this, you can donate online. The RSPCA is a charity and relies on public donations.