Cool nights bad for Floyd Missing iguana needs warmth to (( survive

September 13, 1997|By Dan Morse | Dan Morse,SUN STAFF

Last night was expected to be another cold one for Floyd, a 5-foot iguana last seen headed for Main Street in historic Ellicott City.

The 3-year-old green reptile dashed off his owner's back porch Thursday afternoon and -- as of last night -- hasn't been seen since. Fliers have been posted, police have been called, and search parties have been scrambled.

"Floyd Floyd Floyd," Dana Cole has called out for much of the last two days to an animal he says recognizes his name.

Cole, a 27-year-old chemical technician, raised Floyd from the time he was just a little lizard, a 5-inch baby. "I have a very tight bond with this guy," said Cole, who has been joined in the search by his girlfriend and his two roommates.

Floyd and other iguana pets live indoors, spending much of their days under warm lamps. Each night Floyd is on the loose, he runs a greater chance of catching respiratory infections.

"That could be the beginning of the end for him," Anthony Wisnieski, curator of reptiles and amphibians at the Baltimore Zoo, said yesterday. "Sooner or later it's going to get too cold for him."

Wisnieski said temperatures as low as the low 60s are bad. Last night and early this morning, temperatures in parts of the Baltimore area were expected to dip into the 50s.

Wisnieski and other iguana experts speculated that Floyd is spending his nights seeking warmth, perhaps stretching out on residential roofs that maintain heat from the daylight. During the day he's probably climbing trees, where he soaks in sun and munches on leaves.

"When they [iguanas] are adults, they're vegetarians," Wisnieski said. "So it's not like the neighborhood cats and dogs are going to be missing."

Iguanas have sharp teeth. But they seldom turn them on humans, and will do so only when provoked.

In Howard County, animal control officers say they receive a handful of reports every year for lost iguanas. Most of the lizards don't grow to five feet, though.

"That's a big iguana," Wisnieski said.

Floyd slipped out an open back door Thursday. By the time Cole realized what was going on, Floyd was through a fence and scampering down a steep embankment. Floyd usually isn't so reckless.

Perhaps he is being affected by a female. Cole said he recently took in a friend's female iguana, Yoshi, and would put Yoshi's cage next to his own lizard's cage.

"Floyd, for the last couple of weeks, has been kind of going crazy," Cole said.

Cole is offering a "negotiable" reward for finding Floyd. He can be reached at 410-203-9479.

Pub Date: 9/13/97

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.