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Iguana found thrashing around toilet in home

By Ted Scouten

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    HOLLYWOOD, Florida (WFOR) — Here’s something sure to make you feel a little uncomfortable. Imagine you go to sit down on in the most popular seat in the house and there’s an iguana thrashing around right underneath you.

That’s exactly what happened at Hilberth Home in Hollywood when a spiny tailed iguana was found splashing around in the toilet bowl.

It happened to Kurt Hilberth on Saturday, July 24.

Hilberth told CBS4’s Ted Scouten he first noticed the unwanted toilet intruder out of the corner of his eye, when he went to the bathroom to brush his teeth.

“It was so big that it was not submerged completely in the water. And it’s got that tail that whips back and forth,” Kurt said.

Dressed in protective clothing and gloves and with encouragement from his family, Hilberth went to fish it out, but it kept swimming back down, eluding capture.

Three days later, he almost got it.

“I was able to grab him by his back legs and part of the tail. I was pulling out, he was pulling in, the tail was going back and forth, water was flying everywhere, it was total chaos in the bathroom,” he recalled.

The iguana had other plans and swam back down, into the bowels of the toilet.

“Unfortunately, I was left with a handful of tail,” as Kurt explained the tail broke off in his hand. He rushed it outside, it was still moving.

That’s when Kurt called in the experts saying it’s creepy thinking of what could have happened had someone not noticed it in the middle of the night and sat down.

“Your bare behind is over the toilet and there’s something in there,” he said.

Scouten replied, “Something big!”

“Something with teeth!” Kurt responded. “Something that can bite you down there is really a shivering kind of thought. You’re at a very vulnerable point,” he said.

Trapper Harold Rondan from Iguana Lifestyles positioned a stick in the toilet, hoping the iguana would crawl out. And it did.

“I went, grabbed him, he turned around, got caught with everything, went in that toilet. Put my hand, was able to get him and removed him immediately,” Rondan said.

“The spiny tail iguana does tend to be more aggressive, it’s quicker to bite and shouldn’t be handled,” explained Ron Magill from Zoo Miami.

He warned, with their claws, teeth and spiny tail, iguanas can carry disease.

“All iguanas carry a variety of bacteria. The things they’re most famous for are salmonella and botulism, but there are other bacterial infections you can get,” Magill explained.

So how did it get into the Hilberth’s toilet in the first place?

It likely crawled in through the sewage vent stack on the roof. Kurt found a way to fix that by fastening metal mesh to the vent stack.

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