PRINCETON, N.J. (AP) — A central New Jersey elementary school science class has a new pet after a lizard was discovered in a student’s salad after being refrigerated for days.
Riverside Elementary School science teacher Mark Eastburn told NJ.com the 3-inch green anole lizard was found in a bundle of tatsoi greens last week by a kindergartner.
The lizard had been cold and lifeless after being confined in a refrigerator for days, but has since been warmed and lives in a cage in Eastburn’s class.
“It’s a really fitting mascot for our science lab,” he said.
The lizard, dubbed “Green Fruit Loop,” came from Florida. Eastburn said green anole lizards live in the southeastern states, from Texas to North Carolina.
“It probably has some moderate adaptation to the cold which is why it made it through,” Eastburn said.
The tatsoi had been bought from Whole Earth Center, a natural foods store in Princeton. Mike Atkinson, the store’s produce manager, said the greens are cleaned as they’re stocked and that the lizard must’ve been tucked away in a leaf.
“I’ve been in produce for 17 years and I’ve never heard of a lizard making it to the customer,” Atkinson said.
He said he doesn’t think the lizard would have made it in conventional, non-organic box.
“It might normally surprise or freak out conventional shoppers, but the majority of organic shoppers realize that produce is grown on a farm and there’s lots of bugs and animals that live on a farm too,” Atkinson said.
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