My name is Michelle Little, and I am an avian and reptile keeper at the zoo. It's hard to chose favorites from among the animals that I love so much, but if I had to pick a few, “Vicious” would be high on that list.
Vicious is an Argentine Tegu, a medium-sized South American lizard known for being intelligent and mild-mannered. His impressive appearance and friendly attitude make Vicious an audience favorite at educational shows.
I get a lot of strange looks when I describe any reptile as cuddly, but Vicious really seems to enjoy being held and petted. His favorite place to be is sitting on a keeper's shoulder, nuzzling under their chin. He will even close his eyes and lean into your hand if you scratch him behind the ears, much like a cat.
Vicious is a great animal ambassador because he helps to show people a side of reptiles most have never seen. Many people tend to think of reptiles as scary and dangerous. I enjoy being able to show people, with some help from my scaly friends, that reptiles are beautiful and amazing creatures. Some of them can be really nice, and some are even cuddly.