A bearded dragon has been rescued after being dumped in a park in freezing temperatures.
The reptile was found by a member of the public in a cricket club’s pavilion on Thursday afternoon, as storm Larisa battered parts of the UK with gales and snowstorms that night.
Millions of Britons woke up to a blanket of snow on Friday as bitter conditions continued following the coldest nighttime temperatures in March for more than a decade.
The RSPCA said the bearded dragon was found in the harsh conditions at Hailsham Cricket Club in East Sussex.
The person who found it contacted the animal welfare organization and the reptile – who has since been named ‘Dave’ – was saved from certain death.
The RSPCA is now investigating locally to find out how the creature got into the park, but they said he was not microchipped and no one had come forward.
RSPCA Inspector Rachel Smith said: “Reptiles don’t take cold weather very well and this bearded dragon was rescued from the freezing cold.
“This poor animal wouldn’t have survived long in this cold weather if he hadn’t been found.
“Bearded dragons are endothermic, meaning they can’t generate their own body heat and need heat to survive.
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“They are native to Australia, so if kept in this country they would need a heat lamp to keep the temperature up. If he hadn’t been found, he would soon be dying.
“We are so grateful to the member of the public that the lizard was found on the cricket ground. We are now making inquiries to find out how it came to be in the park. Unfortunately he was not microchipped and despite local enquiries, none have come forward come.
“We urge anyone with information about this bearded dragon to contact us in confidence on 0300 123 8018.”
The lizard is now cared for by the RSPCA, she said, also highlighting the RSPCA’s new cost of living if people struggle to care for their animals.
“We know times are tough right now,” she added. “The RSPCA has launched a new cost of living hub to alert owners to the lifelines now available as prices rise, including specific advice for exotic animals like this bearded dragon.”
The RSPCA also recommended that owners microchip exotic pets so that creatures like Dave can be reunited with them if they get lost.