Polk County Fire Rescue recently came together to save a pet iguana from a tree.
Firefighters have their work cut out for them with animal rescues of late. From Rodney the guinea pig who was saved from a fire last week to Kora the Great Dane who got herself stuck in a tree, the fire department is hard at work making sure furry family members are safe from harm.
But mammals aren't the only animals getting attention.
A few weeks ago, Polk County Fire Rescue used the fire truck's ladder to reach a pet iguana caught at the top of a tree in Poinciana, Florida. Fireman Justin Mazzotta grabbed the lizard while Lieutenant Scott Huff and Driver Engineer Matt Sleik manned the rescue operation from below.
The name of the owner has not been released to the media, nor has the iguana's species. Some species, such as the green iguana, are native to the rainforest canopy, so a treetop was a logical, natural place for the pet to take refuge. There are past reports of pet iguanas getting loose when owners take their reptiles outside for some critical UV off-leash.
While the pet was high up in the air, iguanas are not afraid of heights. Reptiles are known for their hardiness, and the green iguana is documented as capable of surviving a fall from a height of 40 feet!
Green, or common, iguanas are not native to Florida, but wild populations, including released ex-pets, thrive in the tropic climate of the southern U.S. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), invasive populations have subsisted for more than a decade.
Though termed the "green" iguana, only the babies are guaranteed to be green. Alpha males develop prominent orange coloring while others can be a dull gray hue.
The FWC reports that released iguanas in northern parts of Florida typically don't make it through the cold winter, their cold-blooded bodies unable to adjust. Only in year-round warm areas like the islands of the Florida Keys do the invasive populations persist year-round. Poinciana is located in the middle of Florida, so while this pet iguana may have been able to get through the summer, he would have suffered during the winter.
Without a tall ladder, it is unclear what this pet iguana's fate would be. But thanks to yet another group of dedicated firefighters, a family can sleep soundly knowing their scaly member is safe and sound.