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Outcry after live lizard mailed to Japanese zoo

A zoo in a Japanese prefecture received a lizard that was barely alive through the mail, causing an outcry from Japanese netizens who railed against irresponsible pet owners.

The mail package was delivered to the office of Rep Japan, which operates iZoo in Kawazu in Shizuoka prefecture, on Nov 13, reported Japanese newspaper The Asahi Shimbun.

The zoo worker who opened the package, which had a label that listed the contents as "lamp", was shocked to discover a spiny-tailed monitor lizard, also known as a ridge-tailed monitor.

Monitor lizards cannot regulate their body temperatures, as they are poikilotherms.

The 25cm reptile was found "very weak and vulnerable from exposure to cold temperatures during shipment", and had a medical issue with its left eye, the newspaper reported.

The manager of iZoo, Mr Tsuyoshi Shirawa, posted on X: "Never ever do this."



The tweet – which has garnered more than 1,400 reposts and over 630,000 views since it was posted on Nov 13 – has generated backlash against the reptile’s yet-unknown owner.

The incident has been reported to the police, who asked the facility to provide temporary shelter to the lizard, The Asahi Shimbun reported.

iZoo rescues and provides a new home for unwanted reptiles, and exhibits more than 350 species of reptiles and amphibians.

Mr Shirawa urged the public to not abandon their pets and to first contact the zoo’s staff, who will do their best to help the unwanted animals, said the newspaper.