Meet Sparky!

Name: Sparky

Breed: Green iguana

Likes: Sparky loves attention — especially cheek rubs and head scratches — and taking baths. He spends a lot of time basking in the sunshine that comes through the window, and he likes watching squirrels and the neighbors through the window. A natural vegan, Sparky’s favorite foods are leafy greens, berries, and bananas as a treat.

Pass the banana — and don’t buy reptiles from pet stores, please!

Dislikes: Since he’s a reptile, Sparky doesn’t like being cold. He needs to stay warm and spends a lot of time hanging out under his heat lights or in warm patches of sun on the bed.

About Sparky: Sparky is an 11 1/2-year-old iguana who lives in Silver Spring with his guardians. He’s incredibly lucky to have lived this long in captivity and to have a loving family. Captive iguanas have very complex needs, and nearly all of them die at a very young age as a result of improper care or neglect. Sparky’s guardians note that reptiles like Sparky are wild animals and shouldn’t even be kept as pets. They should be left in their natural habitat — but for those folks who absolutely have to have an iguana, local shelters and rescue groups are filled with iguanas who need loving families that can provide long-term, highly-specialized care. Reptiles can also pose a human health risk. Check out what The Humane Society of the United States website has to say.