Cowardly Lizard Finds New Home in Righteous Ridgewood Reptile Rescue – Queens Daily Eagle

By David Mark

An exotic lizard on the loose in a park in western Queens found a new home on Tuesday, thanks to a virtuous reptile rescue from a local bartender in Ridgewood.

Families visiting Grover Cleveland Park in the northwest corner of the neighborhood noticed the scaly lizard, a bearded dragon, calmly basking in the sun near the swings around 3 p.m. Tuesday. The reptile is certainly not native to the Ridgewood-Maspeth border regions, but it is a relatively common pet.

Parkgoer Lauren Ann Urban posted photos of the bearded dragon to a local Facebook group and asked neighbors if anyone could save him.

Luckily for the foot-long lizard, Matthew Jones, a bartender and carpenter, saw the message and immediately responded.

“I’m coming over there now to help, please don’t let him go where he dies,” said Jones, a reptile enthusiast who studied herpetology in college.

Urban pledged to watch the lizard until Jones arrived with a pet carrier. Other neighbors kept tabs on the live rescue as it unfolded on Facebook, while a group of children swarmed the area to watch the cold-blooded creature bask in the sun.

Jones quickly arrived on his motorbike and coaxed the lizard into his carrier. Her promise to keep her new pet safe and healthy with a varied diet of insects and worms has won her praise from her neighbors.

“Hero shit,” one woman wrote on Facebook.

“All this thread warms my cold black heart. Matthew Jones, thank you for being a good human,” said another.

Jones said he plans to keep the bearded dragon as a pet after years of caring for other reptiles. He named the lizard “Mister Peppy” after a small reptilian creature rescued by main character Fry on the show Futurama and said he suspected it had been abandoned by its owner or escaped from his tank.

He also praised the community-building aspect of reptile rescue.

“People need good news,” he said.

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