May 26 2013 Latest news:
EXCLUSIVE BY LAUREN EVERITT
Wednesday, August 8, 2012
WHEN Steffi Hoffman-Leatherdale’s neighbour came across a wandering reptile she was more than happy to help – and then she discovered the size of the lizard.
Her neighbours Tom Middlewick and Kayleigh Betts found the bearded dragon in bushes opposite her house in Sloeberry Road, Ravenswood.
Steffi said: “It was so funny and my six-year-old thought it was the best thing ever.
“A lady knocked on my door and asked if we owned a bearded dragon.
“I had no idea what she was talking about so said no and she asked if I could help because she didn’t know what to do.
“I said ‘of course’ and the next thing I knew this big old thing showed up in a box and I’m absolutely petrified of reptiles but my little one, Lara, thought it was fantastic.
“I had this picture of a small lizard in my head and completely didn’t expect it to be as big as it was. I didn’t know if it was going to bite or jump or what it was going to do.”
After some online research Steffi learned “Donnie the Dragon” needed to be kept at a certain temperature and under a UV light to keep him healthy.
“I started to panic and thought he was going to die because he was freezing cold,” she added. “I knocked on several doors trying to find the owner and eventually came across a man who keeps exotic animals and immediately took him in, put him under a UV light, fed him crickets and kept him overnight.”
The RSPCA was informed the same night and a lost and found report was filed.
Steffi said: “He is a domestic pet and someone must have either dumped him or he escaped from his home.
“They are incredibly expensive to keep.”
An RSPCA spokeswoman confirmed the reptile was taken to a specialist exotic animal centre.
She said: “The next step, as with all animals, is to leave seven days for the dragon’s owner to come forward and claim him. If not we will look to re-home him.”