An iguana found itself perched on a tree limb outside of the Post-Journal on Wednesday afternoon.
The reptile, a green iguana, was spotted by workers on their lunch break as it ran across Second Street - nearly getting hit by a car in the process - and climbed up a tree.
Soon, a crowd had gathered as people tried to figure out how to get the animal out of the tree. A short time later, Mark Jukes arrived at the scene. Jukes, an area herpetologist, was able to extract the iguana from the tree using a cherry picker truck.
Mark Jukes holds the iguana he rescued from a tree outside The Post-Journal office on Wednesday.
Photo by Jon Elder
"I went up in the cherry picker and grabbed the base of his tail in the fashion that I had one chance before he disengaged his tail," said Jukes. "They disengage their tails as a defense mechanism to stop predators from catching them. I didn't get him, but he did land at my feet in the cherry picker and I was able to get him down safely from there."
Jukes, who is certified by the Department of Environmental Conservation to own exotic reptiles, currently has more than 120 of them, including a 14-foot-long albino python, and plans on taking in the iguana to nurse it back to health.
"I'm going to have to give him a lot of calcium and vitamin D3 to help his tail grow back, but he's down on his nourishment anyways, so it'll be part of his diet," said Jukes. "The tail will grow back 100 percent to the full length, without a doubt."
According to Jukes, the iguana will be housed with some of the juveniles that he already owns. Jukes also said that since the iguana is in a weakened state from being malnourished, it will most likely not try to assume dominance in a cage.
"The iguana is pretty emaciated, so he's fairly weak," said Jukes. "I'd estimate that he's been loose for at least six months at this point."
Jukes, who is currently seeking a building and funding to create an educational herpetarium in Western New York, says that it's almost as if he's become the go-to guy whenever there is a problem involving reptiles.
"Officer Greg Fye had apparently gone to my house to find me, but I was already at the scene by the time he arrived," said Jukes. "Justin, the owner of The Q, had also been calling me to get me down here to see what I could do."
For more information about Mark Jukes and the reptiles that he works with, search for "Reptile Realm Jamestown NY" on Facebook.