Hemet Couple Adopts Bearded Dragon They Discovered in Walmart Delivery Box
A bearded dragon who unexpectedly showed up on a Hemet couple’s doorstep stashed inside a delivery package from Walmart is becoming part of the family.
Now named Falkor, after the dragon in the 1984 fantasy film “The Neverending Story,” the exotic lizard of mysterious origin has settled into his new home since arriving there on June 6, the Riverside County Department of Animal Services said Tuesday.
A reptilian stowaway was not what Al and Chris Brummett had bargained for when they ordered a bicycle for one of their 19 grandchildren off Walmart.com. But as Al was pulling the bike’s parts from the box and getting ready to assemble it, he suddenly felt a beady pair of eyes staring back at him, officials said in an earlier news release.
“At first I freaked out because he was so big,” Brummett said. “Here was this massive lizard looking over his shoulder at me.”’
Falkor appeared just as startled by the encounter, according to Brummett. “There he was, and he had this look, such as, ‘What the heck just happened?’” he said. “And I’m thinking, ‘Yeah, me too.’”
The bike arrived just two days after it was ordered, but the family said it originally came from China. Brummett immediately began attempting to calculate how long the cold-blooded creature could have been in the box — which he said was large but didn’t have any holes — and what land he could have come from.
Unsure whether the curious critter was poisonous, Brummett trapped it under a five-gallon painter’s bucket and called Animal Services to investigate. An officer knowledgable in exotic animals informed them the bearded dragon, native to Australia, is legal to keep as a pet in the U.S.
Though Brummett said his wife “would have screamed crazily” if she were home when Falkor appeared, a video released by Animal Services on Tuesday shows Falkor perched on her shoulder while she caresses him and animatedly discusses his diet, habitat and plans for his care.
“He’s got a hammock, and he’s got a heat rock, and a hide, he’s got some Dubai roaches waiting for him and some super worms,” Chris says in the clip. “He’s going to be treated like a king.”
Though Animal Services typically sends exotic pets to one of its rescue partners, they made an exception for the Brummetts because the couple had prior lizard experience, officials said.
Though she’s had plenty of strange calls in her career, Officer Carra Mathewson said Falkor’s will remain among the most bizarre.
“Somehow that bearded dragon ended up in that box and who knows how long it had been in there,” she said. “It’s a wacky tale for sure.”