PALMETTO, Fla. (WFLA) – This is the stuff nightmares are made of. A Manatee County woman went to the bathroom and when she looked in the toilet, there was an iguana inside!

On Monday evening, Dani Craven was cleaning her toilet when she encountered a spiny tail iguana.

“I didn’t know what it was at first, so I instantly screamed and my 9-year-old daughter come running in and she said, ‘Mommy what is it?’ and I said, ‘I don’t know,’” recalled Craven.

“All I could see were scaly, like a scaly tail. I couldn’t tell if it was an alligator or a lizard. I didn’t know.”

When she realized it was a lizard, she was terrified. She placed bricks on top of the toilet to make sure it wouldn’t escape.

“I hate them. I am so terrified of them. I had a lizard jump on my face when I was five. So when people say ‘Oh its just a lizard,’ No! Its my worst fear. So that’s why I freaked out the way I did and I wasn’t gonna go near it,” she said.

Her husband wasn’t going to arrive home until late, so she put out a plea for help on Facebook. Her friend, Shannon Walker, was happy to help.

“I’m such an animal lover that I was like, ‘I can do this. I got it, don’t worry about it.’ I’m like thinking to myself, ‘it’s just a lizard,’” said Walker.

But it wasn’t “just a lizard.”

“It was definitely a lot bigger than a little lizard,” said Walker.

Armed with gardening gloves, a net and a cooler, Walker went to work trying to wrangle the guy. He didn’t like it.

“It freaking hissed at me!!” Walker exclaimed in a video.

“I was more nervous having it loose in her house,” said Walker.

Craven’s daughter stood on the counter to stay away and when the little critter was finally captured, everyone screamed.

The lizard was taken to Justin Matthews with Matthews Wildlife Rescue. He said the spiny tail iguana is native to Mexico. It was likely someone’s pet that was thrown away and made its journey through the sewer.

Matthews is keeping the iguana and will use it for educational purposes. He made sure to thoroughly clean it. He has advice for others.

“Check out your toilet before you use it,” said Matthews.

You can bet Craven will never look at toilets the same way again.

“I was so scared to go to the bathroom [last night] I made my husband check the toilet every time. And it was one of those pee as quick as you can, get off the toilet. I was so scared to go to the bathroom,” said Craven. “Don’t flush your pets down the toilet!”

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