San Salvador rock iguanas in socks seized at Heathrow

One of the endangered iguanas seized by Border Force officers Image copyright Border Agency
Image caption Twelve of the iguanas had survived the journey wrapped in the socks

Thirteen "incredibly rare" iguanas that had been stuffed into socks by smugglers have been seized by a customs team at Heathrow Airport.

The endangered lizards were found in a suitcase at Terminal Five on Monday when officers stopped two Romanian women who had arrived from the Bahamas.

They were due to take the San Salvador rock iguanas on to Dusseldorf, Germany, border officials said.

Each was wrapped in a sock and 12 had survived the journey.

The two women, aged 24 and 26, were arrested on suspicion of importation offences.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The iguanas were destined for Dusseldorf, according to officials

Grant Miller, from the Border Force's endangered species team, said: "This particular species of iguana is incredibly rare - only a few hundred are believed to be left in existence - so this was a remarkable and very important seizure.

"Given the circumstances we found them in it seems incredible that all but one survived such a long flight."

He said the animals - which were dehydrated - are under the supervision of a specialist vet.

He added: "We are working with experts to find the best way to protect and safeguard these endangered creatures longer term."

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