(7.5-cm) critter went unnoticed for a few days in the
refrigerator in Princeton, New Jersey, before Sally Mabon and
her daughter Faye found its limp body while unwrapping a bunch
of tatsoi, an Asian leaf, science teacher Mark Eastburn of
Riverside Elementary School in Princeton said on Tuesday.
Warmth restored its energy and soon the anole lizard was on its
way to Riverside Elementary School, where it caught "oohs" and
"aahs" like flies, and quickly became the class pet.
Less Godzilla and more Geico Gecko, the juvenile lizard has been
named "Green Fruit Loop" by the children.
"It's great because the kids are studying DNA and the anole is
the only reptile to have its entire DNA code sequenced,"
Fran McManus, spokeswoman for Whole Earth Center, the natural
foods store where Mabon bought the tatsoi, told Reuters by
telephone that a Florida grower believes the lizard snuggled
into the greens as they were being harvested in chilly
temperatures and then woke up as a stowaway in New Jersey.
The lizard lurking in the salad greens has turned out to be a
valuable learning experience, Eastburn said in an email to Whole
"It underscores that food doesn't just come from the supermarket
but from actual outdoor farms," the email said.
Also known as an American chameleon, the anole changes color
from green to brown to blend into its surroundings, which now
include a glass enclosure near the blackboard in Eastburn's
So far, the lizard has feasted on a live cricket and some fruit
flies and has no appetite for tatsoi, Eastburn said.
(Reporting by Barbara Goldberg; Editing by Nick Zieminski and
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