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Bunny the lizard reunites with owner with help from Facebook post

Janely Izquierdo visits Jungle Bob's Reptile World in Selden on Wednesday, July 5, 2017 to retrieve her 3-foot-long lizard, Bunny, who'd escaped a few days before. (Credit: Taylor Swaak/Newsday)

For two days, a Selden pet store had a special guest in its cages: a lovable 3-foot-long lizard named Bunny whose story had gone viral.

Bunny was reunited with her owner, Janely Izquierdo, of Bay Shore, late Wednesday afternoon after escaping from Izquierdo’s friend’s house and being dropped off at Jungle Bob’s Reptile World on Monday by a Bay Shore resident who had found her.

“I was really upset, I was worried because I didn’t know how she felt,” said Izquierdo, 19, as Bunny sat snuggled in her arms. “It’s just like with my dogs. It’s family.”

Bunny, a 3 1⁄2-year-old gray Savannah Monitor lizard, had escaped Yusuf Cotton’s home when his mom saw Bunny, got scared and let her out of her cage. Izquierdo was on vacation in Europe at the time.

“I felt bad, we’d lost her animal,” said Cotton, 19, who came with Izquierdo to retrieve Bunny. Bunny had only made it to a neighbor’s yard down the street. “I didn’t know if we’d get it back.”

Store co-owner Tyler Smith said he initially received a call Monday from Sweetbriar Nature Center — which Cotton’s neighbors had called when trying to figure out where to bring the reptile — to see if Jungle Bob’s would take Bunny.

Izquierdo called the store Wednesday around noon after seeing a Facebook post — shared 6,800 times by Monday night — announcing Bunny’s discovery.

For about 40 minutes before Izquierdo showed up, Smith, 27, of Northport, walked around the shop with Bunny hoisted on his shoulder like a baby. And in between customers, he let her crawl — rather, slide — around on the counter.

Bunny even tried tasting a business card.

“We get a lot of these that are discarded; nobody wants to look for them,” Smith said. “So it’s nice that somebody actually wants to keep it for once.”

Izquierdo said she got Bunny a year ago after she bought a bearded dragon and “wanted something bigger.” Bunny’s name reflects her disposition, she said.

“She likes to cuddle; if I pet her she’ll fall asleep and if I stop she’ll wake up,” she said, adding that she sometimes takes Bunny on backyard walks with a lease. “She’s a sweetheart.”

While Izquierdo isn’t turned off to the idea of vacationing in the future, she said she might need to take her plus-one along next time.

“She’s coming with me,” she said.

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