From ANIMAL PEOPLE, December 1996:
Norris Simpson, 88, of Charles County, Maryland, was
killed on October 22 along with all 16 of his grandson’s pets when an iguana
upset a heat lamp, starting a housefire. The fire was at least the fourth
in Maryland caused by an iguana upsetting a heat lamp since 1993. The
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warn that iguanas are not suitable
pets in classrooms or homes with small children for a different reason:
about 90% carry salmonella, which tends to hit children harder and faster
than adults, and can kill or cause permanent disability even before parents
recognize that the children are seriously ill. The U.S. pet industry imported
under 28,000 iguanas per year a decade ago, but brought in 800,000 in
1993, and total sales, including of iguanas bred in the U.S., now exceed a
million a year.
A colony of about 130 Blanding’s turtles has survived in the
marshes of Kejimkujik National Park, Nova Scotia, since the ocean receded
5,000 years ago to isolate them from the main populations now located
in Maine and Ontario, says Blanding’s Turtle Recovery Project chief Tom
Herman, of Acadia University. Cold weather, predation, and nest flooding
have inhibited their reproduction, but since they live up to 70 years,
Herman hopes to have time to insure that some young do survive.
Three years after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service published
a proposal to list the flat-tailed horned lizard as a threatened
species, and two years after the statutory one-year limit on the decision
time expired, the lizard has neither been listed nor been denied a listing.
Concerned that the lizard is rapidly losing its most favorable habitat to suburban
sprawl in southern California and Arizona, the Tucson
Herpetological Society, the Horned Lizard Conservation Society, and
Defenders of Wildlife recently filed suit, seeking to expedite matters.
Knuckling under to the tourism industry, the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service in mid-November issued rules for beach driving and an
incidental take permit to Volusia County, Florida. Because the tradition of
allowing visitors to drive on beaches jeopardizes turtle nests, New Smyrna
Beach residents Shirley Reynolds and Rita Alexander sued the county in
1995. Still pending, the suit will likely now be dismissed.
The Peninsula Humane Society, of San Mateo, California,
discovered an early Halloween horror story on October 25 at the Natural
Life Aquarium pet shop in nearby Belmont, after getting a tip that shopkeeper
Yosan Kriengprarthana hadn’t been there in at least a week and the
electric heat was off due to nonpayment of bills. Thirty-six tropical iguanas,
snakes, turtles, cockatoos, and parrots had either starved or died
from exposure to colder temperatures than they could handle. About 100
fish, 36 reptiles, 13 birds, and 20 rodents were rescued alive. The
Steinhart Aquarium in San Francisco accepted the fish, including a small
shark. The other animals will be rehabilitated and put up for adoption.