The Italian Almanac


The Iguana in the Box

A large iguana was found on a bench of one of Rome's toniest, monumental parks. The 1.5-meter lizard had been left in a small box in the Villa Borghese gardens - Rome's second largest park, which once formed the party estate of a 17th century cardinal. Mounted park police discovered the contents of the box by peering through its many breathing holes - a sure sign of premeditated abandonment.

It marked the latest in a string of exotic animals left deserted in public places in the region. In the last three weeks alone, a royal python was found slithering through the Prenestino neighborhood of Rome; and two eastern snapping turtles were rounded up in other areas of the Lazio region.

The iguana species is protected by CITES - the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora - even though sale of the creatures is permitted.

The police contacted the Central CITES Service of the State Forest Police to remove and care for the jilted iguana.