Here is one for the funny books. It would seem that an exotic spiny-tailed iguana was able to hitch itself a free ride from Mexico to the states—by way of a woman’s bikini top.
According to the Peninsula Humane Society & the SPCA, the woman found the little reptile upon returning to her home in Foster City, California, after a trip to Cancun, Mexico. The tiny stowaway was found when the woman unpacked her luggage.
Buffy Martin Tarbox, spokeswoman for PHS/SPCA stated:
“She had put her bathing suit out to dry on the balcony of her hotel room, and the next morning, packed up her belongings in her suitcase. Unbeknownst to her, a baby iguana had decided to nest in her bathing suit and accidentally hitchhiked to California.”
Spiny-tailed iguanas are indigenous to both Mexico and Central America. They are not currently listed as a threatened species, and it is very common to see them throughout all of Mexico. Although the hitchhiking iguana was still a baby, and very small in stature, the adults of this particular breed can reach a whopping length of five feet long, and have a life expectancy of between fifteen and twenty-five years, according to the PHS/SPCA spokesperson
Reaching out to state and federal wildlife agencies, the course of action appeared to require no quarantine time, and the little iguana was not required to be deported back to Mexico. After being treated for dehydration, the woman who found him relayed him to a sanctuary that cares for these particular types of reptiles.
It is not that uncommon for animals to be found stowing away or hitchhiking a ride in camping gear or even clothing. The PHS/SPCA suggests that before packing, make sure to give your gear or clothing a good shaking out. This will go a long way in helping to make sure you do not discover a surprising souvenir when you return home.