Pet of the Day

December 31, 2000

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Michaelangelo, the Pet of the Day
Name: Michaelangelo
Age: Six years old
Gender: Male
Kind: Brazilian Green Iguana
Home: Bayonne, New Jersey, USA
   Michaelangelo, Mikey for short, is a very special iguana to everyone in our household. He was found five years ago, abandoned in a basement in Jersey City. He had been all alone for two weeks without a heat rock, food, or light. His previous owners had actually sprayed the house for fleas without covering his tank! When my mother and I found him he was a shriveled grey skeleton, barely alive and we took him home. He was less than a year old and about 15" long. Slowly I nursed him back to health and bought him a 4'x 3'x 2' tank! About two months later Mikey was healthy and green and strong again.

    We took him to the vet and told us that Michael's species of iguana is very rare in the United States and that Mikey had been illegally smuggled into the country when he was very young. Sadly he told us that Mikey was stunted at 2' 10'' and would never reach his full size. He had not received vitamins early on in his life that were crucial to his well being. As a result, he has no strength in his fingers or hands though his hind legs are rather strong. He will never regain use in his hands and fingers because the muscles are too weak. Mikey has managed to overcome all of his fears and handicaps and enjoys crawling up and down the ramps of his tank, as well as hiding in the plants and is the greenest iguana our vet has ever seen!! His other pastimes include sleeping, playing in my hair, and laying on top of our German Shepherd / Labrador mix, Zalea. In addition to Mikey we have six neurologically handicapped cats, a special needs blind dog, Zalea, and a few goldfish and tetras. They all get along very well, and the dogs can't get enough of my special Michaelangleo!! His favorite food, by the way, is banana!

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