the journey of a reptile that circled the city – The Minnesota Daily
The dragon had quite an adventure exploring southern Minneapolis before finding his way to the Standish neighborhood, where a resident picked him up.
Minnesota is home to a variety of woodland creatures – turkeys, rabbits, deer, oh my god! – and there is nothing out of the ordinary about passing a casual visitor in the backyard.
But it’s not everyday that Minnesotans are greeted by a cold-blooded reptilian guest.
Grace Riley couldn’t believe her eyes when she found a bearded dragon wandering outside her home in the Standish neighborhood of southern Minneapolis on June 5.
“It was like, ‘Do I see what I think I see? “Like, this is my sidewalk, this is not a lawn decoration gone wrong,” Riley said.
A local reptile store, Twin Cities Reptiles, told Riley the dragon could have walked a few miles around town that day, roaming the streets of Minneapolis on a dangerous adventure.
Hoping to find the owner of the dragon, Riley posted his discovery on Nextdoor, Instagram and Twitter. While no one has claimed the dragon as their own, Riley said his posts have generated a lot of community support.
“We had all this enthusiasm to come together and thank ourselves for being the ones who picked it up,” she said. “It was quite funny to see how kind and supportive the people were.”
Reptile owners on social media have given Riley some tips on how to properly care for the dragon for now. She said they were “eager to share their tips and tricks” and recommended things like calcium supplements, UVB lamps, and even salad recipes that their bearded dragons particularly enjoy.
Some in the community have offered to bring Riley the supplies she needs to care for her new reptilian friend, including Katy Rex, who stumbled upon Riley’s post on Twitter. Rex is one of the founders of Tiny Dino Buds, a local non-profit bearded dragon rescue.
After sheltering the dragon for a few days, Riley took it to rescue. The dragon suffered several injuries, one to his back, as well as a build-up of fluid in his lungs. Rescue strives to help the dragon find its “happiest, healthiest self,” Rex said.
Rex said his ultimate goal is to reunite the dragon with its original owners.
Ben Lowe, a University of Minnesota alumnus who earned his doctorate. studying ecology, evolution and behavior, said the bearded dragon could have been more evolutionary equipped to support this urban trek than other reptiles would be.
Since bearded dragons are native to Australia, Lowe said, they have adapted to hot, desert conditions. During its summer season, the Australian deserts are around 40 degrees Celsius or 104 degrees Fahrenheit. This summer has already been scorching in the Twin Cities, as recent temperatures soar in the 1990s. According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the eight days between June 3 and June 10 marked the worst heat wave ever. recorded in Minnesota occurring anytime during the first half of June. While these conditions were brutal for the Minnesotans, they could have served as an advantage for the dragon.
“Our towns are all concrete and asphalt, and they tend to get quite hot, which might help one of these lizards tolerate walking around on their own,” Lowe said.
A study published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Western Australia concluded that on average the daily distance traveled by a group of bearded dragons was 115 meters, or 0.07 miles. While this is still a “considerably greater” daily distance than that of other lizards, walking a few miles would have been quite an accomplishment for the dragon.
While he potentially missed his owner and felt lost in the big city, the bearded dragon could have explored some pretty cool places on his way south of Minneapolis that day.
If she wanted to get away from her typical diet of bugs and veggies, she could have grabbed a “Jucy Lucy” from the iconic Matt’s Bar & Grill, complementing it with something sweet from A Baker’s Wife’s Pastry Shop. She could have soaked up the rays of the sun at Powderhorn Park or cooled off in the paddling pool at Sibley Park before visiting all the area has to offer.
Scott Johnson, director of Twin Cities Reptiles, said the dragon was lucky to avoid all potentially life-threatening dangers throughout its journey.
“[She] could have eaten insects that ate pesticides in the neighbor’s yard, [she] could be picked up by a bird of prey, [she] could be eaten by the neighbor’s dog, ”Johnson said. “Yes [she] traveled for miles, [she] better to take a lotto ticket.
Fixed: A previous version of this story contained two errors, both of which were caused by incorrect information from someone involved in the rescue party who was dealing with the bearded dragon. The original story distorted the sex of the bearded dragon; the bearded dragon is female. The previous story also mistakenly referred to the condition of the bearded dragon as healthy; the bearded dragon actually suffered multiple injuries while walking around the city.