Yesterday evening (Wednesday) at around 6pm, the crews attended Queen Street, Horncastle to reports of an iguana up a tree after Einstein the iguana had made his escape from his home after he followed the family’s cat through the cat flap.
Einstein’s family has a microchip cat flap for their cat Toulouse, which hadn’t been reset an he was able to make his escape, going on the run for over 24 hours when he was spotted 12 metres up a tree in a neighbour’s garden.
RSPCA animal rescue officer Paula Jones said: “When I got the message through from our call centre to say I needed to help rescue an iguana from a tree - I told them it wasn’t April Fool’s Day!
“It’s just not a call I was expecting to ever get - however I realised it must be true as it was the owner who had called us - so I attended and could see Einstein sunning himself on the branch of the tree.
"It's not everyday you see a pet iguana in a tree - but perhaps Einstein used the theory of reptile-tivity!”
Einstein had got himself on a flimsy branch which was making it difficult to reach him by a ladder – so reinforcements were called for and Todd Wilson, a tree surgeon and an on-call firefighter at Horncastle but was off duty at the time, came to help with the rescue.
Lincs Fire & Rescue crews from Horncastle and Louth also used a 9metre ladder, two triple short extension ladders, chimney rods, salvage sheets, and rope rescue equipment to successfully rescue Einstein from the tree.
Einstein’s owner Stuart Hoyle had said Einstein wasn’t generally friendly, but Todd the tree surgeon was able to get up the tree and reached the branch to pull Einstein over to him, where he placed him in a box and made it secure before bringing him down.
“As in many animal rescues involving animals up trees I called the fire service who have the specialist equipment to carry out this type of job safely,” Paula added, “I just want to say that they were brilliant as was the off duty firefighter who managed to get Einstein! We are so grateful to everyone involved in the rescue!”
Stuart and his family have now expressed their “enormous gratitude” to the RSPCA, Lincs Fire and Rescue Service, and Todd for getting Einstein out of his adventurous spot of bother.
“He has been with us since a hatchling; not only is he a family member but considers himself the head of the household!" he said.
“He may seem large but is only five years old but still has some growing to do, it seems that includes growing up.
“He is Einstein because he can be very intelligent, and also incredibly daft. I have kept reptiles since the 1970's but waited until five years ago before keeping a green iguana, family life had to be ready for such a commitment and he is the only reptile I have.
“Einie is not kept in an enclosure, he has his elevated area with all his UV light and heat requirements with the freedom of the whole house, which he certainly uses, and is always up to some form of nonsense, all the time.
“He craves affection and attention like a puppy and particularly adores our cat Toulouse, as much as he likes dandelions.
“If anyone is wondering, he does have his own toilet which he uses, most of the time!.”
Paul Wright, Watch Commander Support at Louth fire station, said: “By using specialist equipment and expertise, we can make sure the public don’t put themselves at risk by attempting unsafe rescues.
"Although this was quite an unusual incident, our Louth and Horncastle crews were happy to help the RSPCA. No two days are the same as a firefighter!”