Warning behind 'adorable' image of blue-tongue lizard swimming in pool

Everything is not as it appears with the images of the native reptile swimming in a Sydney backyard.

Looks can be deceiving and that couldn't be truer for the seemingly picturesque images of a blue-tongue lizard floating in a backyard swimming pool during Sydney's hot weather.

Images of what people thought was a "happy lizard" were shared online on Sunday, and many gushed over the reptile soaking in the sun much like other Sydneysiders were on the hot day, however, in reality the lizard was not enjoying itself and the incident shows a common danger threatening urbanised wildlife.

"I went to check it out, it was puffed up and I believed that it was unconscious," resident Komal Andleb told Yahoo News Australia. "I told my daughter to search up how to perform CPR on it."

The blue-tongued lizard floats on top of the pool in bright sunshine (left). The reptile rests on the pool net on dry land (right).
The blue-tongue lizard appeared unconscious in the Sydney resident's swimming pool. Source: Facebook

"Then I saw its arms move slowly but she was going with the flow of water. I felt relief that she was breathing and was alive."

The resident managed to retrieve the lizard from the pool before it darted away from the pool "in shock".

Ms Andleb's post received a wave of comments, many unaware of the danger the lizard found itself in. "Gorgeous," one person wrote of the blue-tongued lizard. "Adorable," another said.

Two-hour window before blue-tongue lizard 'drops'

Although reptiles are able to tread water for a short amount of time, wildlife rescuers continue to urge anyone who spots a reptile in a swimming pool to get them out as quickly and safely as possible as many are known to drown after getting stuck.

"They can swim a little bit but not too much. Scooping them out would be the better thing... if they take on too much water they'll end up sinking," Cory Kerewaro from Reptile Relocation Sydney told Yahoo News. "Within a couple of hours it will end up dropping if it had nothing to rest on."

WIRES confirmed it is "common" for rescuers to get calls regarding wildlife in pools, with reptiles in particular susceptible to getting stuck.

How can I protect wildlife around my pool?

The best way to help your pool be wildlife friendly is to ensure there is some form of escape route for the animal.

"When they get stuck in the pool they'll swim to the edge to try get out, and they'll skim the edge until they find something," Cory said before suggesting a simple solution.

"Any wildlife that ends up in the pool, you can get these little wildlife ramps than sit on the side of the pool which ramp down into the water and give them a rest or they get themselves on that and push themselves out."

Handmade solutions are also just as effective and Cory recalls seeing bodyboards and "half in half out" pool noodles weighted on the land for wildlife to use.

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