By David Aspinall
This rescued giant lizard adopted from a zoo now won’t leave his owner alone and loves nothing more than cuddles.
Loveable Winston the Argentine Tegu had a difficult start in life but now spends his days either climbing on owner Sarah Crow’s back or licking her face.
Despite weighing 15 pounds and stretching to four-feet-long, the endearing reptile loves curling up in Sarah’s lap.
He may not be a cat or dog, but that doesn’t stop nine-year-old Winston from being very playful and he loves running through a feline tunnel.
Sarah, from Lansing, Michigan, USA, said: “Winston is extremely affectionate.
“After basking, he likes to hang out.
“Often he will stop basking to sit or interact with me.
“If I’m cleaning his enclosure, he will interrupt me and climb over my back.
“Also, if I’m sat down he will cuddle on my lap and stays there for about an hour at a time.”
After being dropped off in a box by his first owner, Winston was cared for by The Great Lakes Zoological Society in Ann Arbour, Michigan.
When that closed, the Black and White Tegu was homeless until Sarah adopted him in March 2015.
Sarah said: “When I adopted him, he needed a long time to adjust and for me to get to know what his likes and dislikes are.
“It took us about three months.
“He was destructive and wasn’t exactly fond of his new surroundings.
“I would sit in his room next to his enclosure for two to three hours a day.”
Since then, Winston has changed drastically, which Sarah attributes to working hard to earn his trust.
Even now, the loving lizard gets separation anxiety if his owner leaves him for more than a day which leads to him causing some destruction in her house.
Sarah said: “Winston can be playful in a way.
“He can’t fetch and bring back but he loves checking new things out.
“He does have a crinkly cat tunnel that he loves and plays with it like how one would.
“Also, he is very smart as there are times if I’m not feeling well, he will sit across my back while I nap in his room.
“He’s so calming and he helps surprisingly.”