A bearded dragon has been saved after being found dumped in a park in freezing temperatures.
The reptile was found by a member of the public near to a pavilion at a cricket club on Thursday afternoon, ahead of Storm Larisa battering parts of the UK with gales and blizzards that night.
Millions of Britons woke up to a blanket of snow on Friday after bitter conditions continued following the coldest overnight March temperatures for more than a decade.
The RSPCA said the bearded dragon was found in the bitter conditions at Hailsham Cricket Club in East Sussex.
The person who found it contacted the animal welfare charity and the reptile – which has since been named Dave – was rescued from certain death.
The RSPCA is now making enquiries locally to find out how the creature got into the park, but they said he was not microchipped and no one had come forward to claim him.
RSPCA inspector Rachel Smith said: "Reptiles do not cope well with cold weather and this bearded dragon was saved from freezing conditions.
"This poor animal would not have survived for long in this cold weather if he hadn’t been found.
"Bearded dragons are endothermic which means they cannot generate their own body heat and need warmth to survive.
"They are native to Australia so when they are kept in this country they require a heat lamp to keep temperatures high. Had he not been found he would have been at death’s door before long.
"We’re so grateful to the member of the public who found the lizard at the cricket ground. We’re now making enquiries to find out how it came to be in the park. Unfortunately he was not microchipped and despite making local enquiries no one has come forward.
"We’re urging anyone who has any information about this bearded dragon to contact us in complete confidence on 0300 123 8018."
The lizard is now in RSPCA care, she said, and also highlighted the RSPCA's new cost of living hub if people are struggling to look after their animals.
"We know times are tough right now," Smith added. "The RSPCA has launched a new cost of living hub to signpost owners to the lifelines which are available right now as prices rise, including specific advice for exotic animals like this bearded dragon."
The RSPCA also recommended that owners get exotic pets microchipped, so creatures like Dave can be reunited with them if they get lost.