A green iguana more than four feet long was found roaming Eastern Shores in Greenport Sunday, Southold Town police said.
The lizard, which was first spotted on the ground by a passerby who notified police, was captured after it climbed a tree.
Officers then handed it over to employees at the town’s animal shelter.
“It’s obviously a cold blooded animal that can’t survive the winter here,” said Detective Ned Grathwohl. “It was probably a pet of some sort that got to be too big and someone just released it. Of course it could also be worth something to somebody.”
He said the shelter has a tank the reptile can be kept in, though he wasn’t certain where it would ultimately end up.
Anyone with information can notify the town animal shelter at 631-765-1811 or town police at 631-765-2600.
Iguanas are herbivorous lizards native to tropical areas of Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean.
It’s not uncommon for exotic pets to be released into the wild by their owners. The Suffolk County SPCA hosted an amnesty day in Brookhaven last week for people to turn in pets they own illegally with no questions asked. Three alligators were handed over during the event, the SPCA said.