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Members of the fire brigade in Cove, England, hopped aboard one of their trucks one day last week and set off on an animal rescue mission. They rolled to a stop beneath a tall tree and positioned an extension ladder so one of them could climb almost to the top. But they soon gave up and returned to the station empty-handed. What, someone's cat refused to be brought down? No, no cat.
The critter, said a caller from the local chapter of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, was an iguana. That's what a concerned resident of the neighborhood had reported seeing among the leaves 45 or so feet up. And the society was convinced the report was accurate because it happened to have rescued one in the same area just the week before.
Now, iguanas, which are scaly and greenish in color and native to the Caribbean and Central and South America, look menacing. But they're small and harmless, and some people keep them as pets. So that's what the intrepid fireman was expecting to deal with as he made his way up the ladder. As he closed in on his quarry, however, he realized there was no lizard above him. Instead, it was ... a gnarl growing on a branch that, from a distance, bore an uncanny resemblance to an iguana's head and front legs. Were the fire brigade guys annoyed at having been called out on a false alarm? Apparently not. Said a spokesman: "We take all animal rescues seriously. In this case [the caller had] a good intent." He conceded, though, "I've never seen anything like it."