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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 July, 2003, 17:14 GMT 18:14 UK
Thieves snatch bearded dragon
Bearded dragon
The bearded dragon is a common pet
Fears have been voiced for the safety of a bearded dragon stolen from Glasgow University.

It is thought that thieves may have smuggled the reptile out of the Zoology Museum in a bag.

Experts have warned that Max, who was one of the favourite exhibits, could start to decline in unfamiliar surroundings.

Strathclyde Police are examining CCTV footage in an attempt to shed light on the theft.

The force has also urged anyone with information about Max's whereabouts to come forward.

Detectives leading the inquiry said the reptile had been taken some time between Thursday of last week and Monday.

No danger

It is thought that thieves posing as visitors to the museum may have stuffed Max into a bag.

Similar to an iguana in appearance, the bearded dragon is about 2.5ft long and dark grey in colour, with a light gold underbelly.

Max is not considered a danger to the public and was described as "friendly" by university staff.

They live very well in captivity, develop real character and can be a constant source of amusement
University spokeswoman

Assistant curator Camilla Nichol said: "We are becoming increasingly concerned about Max's welfare as he will not thrive in an unfamiliar surrounding.

"If he is left outside, he begins to cool and slow down, especially at night.

"He would become very miserable indeed and would not be able to feed and thus enter a decline."

Bearded dragons are native to Australia and can only survive in high temperatures.

A spokeswoman for the university said they were reasonably common pets, which can be bought for between 30 and 100.

Large tank

"They are a manageable size, placid in temperament and, as with most reptiles, once you have a vivarium set up, they are relatively easy to keep," she said.

"In addition they live very well in captivity, develop real character and can be a constant source of amusement."

Max would need a large tank fitted with reptile lamps which replicate daylight and provide the necessary heat.

He eats fruit, salad mixture and a regular supply of live insects and also needs a vitamin and mineral supplement to offset the minimised exposure to real sunlight.

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