AN appeal has been launched to find the owner of a bearded dragon who was found in a sports bag left on the number 20 bus.
The Lothian buses bus driver had reached the end of the route at Asda Chesser at midday and was checking the vehicle when he found the sports bag.
Inside was a bearded dragon – nicknamed Blakey by animal welfare staff after the character from On the Buses – in a small container. The reptile was taken to Lothian Buses Longstone Depot before being handed over to the SSPCA.
Bearded dragons come from central Australia where they live in large arid deserts. They are cold-blooded and must be kept in large tanks with heat lamps and other equipment.
Lothian buses is trying to track down the owner of the lonely lizard – although since a picture was put on the bus company’s Facebook page many people have offered to adopt the dragon if the original owner isn’t found.
And staff have been reassuring followers that the reptile is in safe hands, with many expressing concern about its plight. Blakey is now in the care of the charity’s Edinburgh and Lothians Animal Rescue and Rehoming Centre, and staff said they would be working with Lothian Buses to determine whether the animal was deliberately abandoned.
Animal Rescue Officer Fiona Thorburn said: “Blakey was found inside a plastic pet carrier within a large carrier bag.
“At this stage we can’t say whether Blakey has been abandoned. Someone could have been transporting him and forgotten him but as far as we are aware no-one has been in touch with Lothian Buses looking for him.
“We understand Lothian Buses will be reviewing CCTV footage. We would ask anyone who recognises Blakey and knows who might have owned him to contact us.
“This isn’t the first animal we have rescued having been left on a Lothian Bus. “Last year we took in a kitten who we named Ticket and in 2013 a guinea pig was left behind.
“Blakey is in good condition and is now receiving the care he needs. If he has been abandoned we will soon be looking to find him a loving new home.”
Abandoning an animal is an offence under the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 and anyone found guilty of doing so can expect to be banned from keeping animals for a fixed period or life.
Just last week the charity had to take on 18 degus after the chinchilla-type rodents were left inside a box in a garden in the Hutchison area.
They were found by a member of the public along with a note from the owner saying they could no longer cope with them. The animals are now in the care of the Scottish SPCA’s rescue centre in Balerno.
Anyone with information is being urged to contact the Scottish SPCA Animal Helpline on 03000 999 999.