Lizard lurking in New Jersey pupil’s salad is now class pet

NEW YORK A tiny green lizard found by a New Jersey kindergarten student in a bundle of chilled salad greens at home has wriggled its way into the hearts of an entire elementary school class, which adopted it as a mascot.

The three-inch (7.6-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, the Newark Star Ledger reported 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 lizard has been named “Green Fruit Loop” by the students.

Fran McManus, spokeswoman for Whole Earth Center, the natural foods store where Mabon bought the tatsoi, told Reuters in a telephone interview 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’s arrival in the Garden State has served as a learning experience for the students, Riverside’s science teacher, Mark Eastburn, said in an email to Whole Earth.

“It underscores that food doesn’t just come from the supermarket but from actual outdoor farms … and that produce at Whole Earth Center is truly organic and gently harvested since a tiny lizard could survive the whole process without any harm,” the email said.

Officials at Riverside Elementary School declined to immediately comment on the lizard lurking in the greens.

(Reporting by Barbara Goldberg; Editing by G Crosse and Nick Zieminski)

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