So, you’ve lost your iguana. What should you do, besides getting upset and blaming yourself?
First, keep in mind that this happens to a lot of us, mostly because we didn’t prepare properly, NOT because
we are bad owners or because we didn’t care. Click here for a lost
iguana story that has a good ending.
The first thing to do is take a few deep breaths and think rationally. Looking around frantically won’t help much at all.
The second is to remember that iguanas usually don’t go that far. Search your house first. Iguanas can get into surprisingly small and “unreachable spots” even when they are big. Search one room at a time, and check everything. Look behind curtains and feel the curtains, on shelves in the closet, under the bed, under the covers on the bed, etc. When you have thoroughly checked a room, close the door and stuff a towel underneath the door if your iguana is small enough to squeeze under the door. This way, your iguana won’t travel from room to room while you are looking for it. Then, go back and check the rooms again.
Don’t forget to search cold places. Iguanas are regularly found as igcicles, because they apparently don’t care if the spot they like is cold or not ;-) Once you find your iguana, if it is cold, slowly warm it up and give it food and water. Most iguanas that are lost inside generally don’t suffer any major problems from being lost (at the most, being cold and a bit dehydrated).
If your iguana is lost outside, then you have a bigger task ahead of you. The best thing to do is get some friends to help, and to break down your search area. If you take it section by section, it will be a bit more manageable.
Iguanas blend in, like they are supposed to do. What may seem like a bright green iguana can instantly look like bark and dull green leaves. Start by looking in the warmer areas…on a wall (igs can climb brick), on a roof, on some sunny thing like an air conditioner. Even on a chilly day the ig can get warm if it is sunny enough. The best times to look are mid to late morning and mid afternoon. This is because it provides the best sun along with some good cover by vegetation.
It can be easier to wait until you see the iguana, rather than actively looking. Just stand, let your eyes go out of focus a bit, and your brain will do the sorting. The ig will stand out suddenly. If you don’t see it, go on to the next section that you had mapped out.
Looking at night can work. Bring a strong flashlight, and flash it on the branches to look for sleeping iguanas. Mostly, they just give you a dirty look and go back to sleep instead of bolting. They show up fairly well when searched for in this manner.
Once you do find them, bring them in and slowly warm them up and give food and water. Serious dehydration needs veterinary care (lift their skin…does it fall back slowly? If so, they are really dehydrated.), or if they have cuts or other wounds.
Iguanas can withstand severe temperatures providing they were healthy when they were lost. Don’t despair if things seem bad, because they can have a happy ending like Prim's story did.
Make sure you contact the local animal shelters/humane societies, police, local veterinarians, post signs up wherever they might be seen. Someone can spot it and call you up to report it.
So, your Iguana is lost? Here are some things to put in your reward flyer:
1. Photo of an iguana. When I lost my
iguana, I didn’t have any good photos, so I asked to use the photo of a friend’s iguana. That is because no one is going to look at an iguana they found and say “Oh, it doesn’t look like that iguana”. Any picture is better than none.
2. Place last seen. Put where the iguana was seen last. I also wrote that if you see it, pick it up by its body and not its tail, or to call me and I will come get it.
3. Reward amount. There is nothing like money to motivate people. Just make sure that you have the amount in cash in case they do come up with your iguana.
4. Contact information. Make sure you leave your phone number, address, and name.
5. Noticeable. You want to make sure people see the reward flyer. I used two different types. The first, that you see here, was on white paper with blocks of purple, and thick black print, plus a color photo of the iguana. This was expensive, so I only printed about a dozen of those. The rest I ran off on neon copy paper in black ink only. I put the “nice” ones where the iguana was most likely to be seen (see how to find a lost iguana), and I used the others to stuff in mailboxes and
hand out to people I saw walking by.