Pet of the Day

September 7, 2005

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Sambo, the Pet of the Day
Name: Sambo
Age: Two years old
Gender: Male
Kind: Iguana
Home: Englewood, Florida, USA
   Sambo was given to my by some good friends (Charlie and Tammy) at my 50th birthday party. They wanted to know what I wanted for my birthday and I said a lizard. They thought I was kidding. I was not. Sambo was so small he could fit in the palm of my hand.

    He lived in a fish bowl for three months, then into a ten-gallon tank, then into a 55-gallon tank. At one years old and 28 inches long, he got control of the patio and the house. Sambo is now 5 feet 1 inches long and twelve pounds.

    When I got Sambo, I read all that I could on how to take care of him. I spent every free moment holding him and hand feeding. I have enjoyed learning about his care, habits, facial expressions, likes and dislikes. I would sit for hours and stroke his back as he sleeps. I did trial and error with the foods that he could have, to see what he liked.

    I have seven heating pads throughout the house and patio and two heat (sun) lamps. He is truly a free roomer and king of my house. Sambo has been potty trained at the age of eight months to go in a large shallow box lined with a towel. The towel is replaced daily. Once in a while he misses.

    When Sambo was small he liked to climb all over the patio screen. At one year old, he discovered the Christmas tree. At 1 1/2 he got into the dog's food. ( no no!) Now that he is larger, it's closets he likes to get lost in. About a year ago, Sambo went into the closet to check things out. He got behind the folded sheets and I could not find him for three days. My house is now lizard-proof and there is no place he can hide without his tail hanging out. Now he likes hiding in a storage shelf in my computer desk. He can always be found by his tail.

    I have a special place for Sambo on the patio. Food, water, full sun, heat and a full view of the back yard. This is HIS place. I love showing him off, take him for a ride in the car, or a walk around the outside of my home with him held on my shoulders. The kids love to hold Sambo, women will pet him, but men shy away.

    When I come home from work, Sambo greets me at the patio door, I let him in, give him a hug and then he heads for the front window for some afternoon sun. This is a daily routine. Fruit is usually served at this time.

    Sambo gets a scrub down in the bathtub at least three times a week. He also enjoys sitting on my shoulders when I am in the hot tub.

    Sambo sleeps on a heating pad - on top of a pillow next to mine. Sometimes I am woken up in the night with him nudging his nose into my neck and cuddling. He is my green pet, my green dog!

    I would not recommend an iguana as a pet for a child. The care and work that is involved is too much for children.

    My sambo has been a wonderful pet and I am still very careful of the untamed side of his nature, his bite and strong tail.

    Sambo will continue to grow with good care and love, he will be the best pet I ever had and the most unusual.

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