A pet iguana has baffled vets after seemingly coming back to life at a crematorium hours after ‘dying’.
Large tropical lizard Frank, 10, left his owner Larissa Palmieri devastated after she found him cold and lifeless one morning earlier this week.
After eventually accepting he had passed away, the science teacher, 30, from Haslingden, Lancs, was speechless when she got the call to say he was actually alive.
It is believed Frank, who was found slumped over a wooden log in his cage on Wednesday, had gone into cold-shock but it is unclear why as he was surrounded by personal heat lamps.
Larissa had to be consoled by her mum Gill after fearing she’d lost her beloved pet who has been a close companion during lockdown.
“His mouth was floppy, his mouth was grey where it would usually be pink, I couldn’t even open his eyes to check his response,” she said.
“I grabbed hold of him, he was really limp and floppy. It was the worst five minutes ever.”
After a few hours of trying to revive her pet, Larissa said: “He just didn’t seem like he was warming up at all, I started really fearing the worst. It was horrendous.”
Frank was collected by staff from Legacy Pets Crematorium in Bury, Greater Manchester, in a box but later that afternoon there was a twist in the tale.
While being checked over, Frank started to twitch and opened his eyes.
A crematorium spokesperson said: “Of course, we were startled by this – but took it upon ourselves to contact a reptile expert who advised us that Frank may have become too cold and so his body had put itself in a state of ‘cold-shock’ where they appear to be deceased but they are actually still alive.”
They then placed heaters around the iguana and called Gill, with Frank becoming more alert as time went on.
Larissa said: “About an hour passed and my mum called me saying she needed to talk. I wasn’t in the mood but she told me ‘no, seriously, Frank is alive!’
“I got to the crematorium and everyone was outside waiting for us.”
Sure enough, Frank was sat waiting for Larissa and immediately perked up when she arrived.
Gill said: “It really is a miracle.”
The lizard was taken to a Chorlton vet and kept in overnight but they couldn’t pinpoint exactly why he appeared to be dead for hours.
“It’s absolutely amazing. I genuinely thought he was dead – at one point he went from being really floppy to being rigid and I thought that was rigor mortis setting in,” said Larissa.
She said all of her family and friends can’t get enough of Frank and when she and her partner move to a new home he will be getting his own bedroom.
The animal lover also has a Burmese python, a rainbow boa, a common boa constrictor, a dwarf sungazer lizard, three types of geckos, a frog and a rabbit.