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A Lizard- Loving Lifestyle

iguana
CBS/The Early Show
Sandy Binns lives in a beautiful, spacious, and orderly home. At first glance, you wouldn't know that there are reptiles about.

But when this San Jose housewife with a soft spot for lizards brushes her teeth and washes her face, there's an ignuana sitting on her bathroom counter.

Binns is so wild about reptiles, she's opened her home to 41 iguanas. The Early Show National Correspondent Hattie Kauffman met "Happy" in the bathroom, "Saber" in the master bedroom, and "Walter" on the patio. "Slim" lives in the office, along with a plastic toy iguana, "Tina."

Binns says, "We don't encourage mating."

But they are running around the house. What happens when the lights go out?

As she feeds Slim strawberries with her bare hand, Binns explains, "Everyone has their separate domain. Nothing happens that we don't see."

So has she ever been bitten? Binns says, "A couple times, but they're very small teeth. They will tear the skin if they bite down really hard, but as long as you're careful, then you won't get bitten."

With 41 hungry lizards and two enormous tortoises looking for lunch, feeding time is a family affair.

Binns and her 12-year-old daughter, Nicole, fill bowls and bowls of fresh greens and fruit. Dozens of iguanas dine in climate-controlled reptile houses. They are kept in separate enclosures to prevent fighting.

One iguana comes to the glass window of a reptile house and moves his head. Binns says, "He's trying to tell you that this is his house. It's a display of dominance and territorial."

Binns notes, "Just like 41 children, they all have their own distinct personalities." Laughing she adds, "They even have mood swings."

As they walk around the hardwood floor, one wonders if the Binns ever worry about getting up in the middle of the night and stepping on one. But Sandy Binns says that is not a concern. "When the sun goes down, it's really time for them to go to bed. So they will find a spot and they'll go to sleep and they'll stay there until the sun comes up."

But Nicole says it does happen that one may disappear in the house and end up being under the couch or under the bed. "They do that a lot," she says. "They like to go behind the couches to the heating vents and just sit on the heating vents."

So how did the Binns end up with so many reptiles? After all most people, even if they like iguanas, may own just one.

Binns says, "Most of the animals we have are actually rescue animals. What happens is someone will have the iguana and it will grow to a large size and mom or dad says, 'OK, get rid of it.'"

Some species are in danger of extinction and the Binns are passionate about conservation.

John Binns says, "We spend basically all of our free time, all of our free money trying to save these iguanas. They're disappearing from the Earth."

Iguanas can live up to 40 years, which means a lifetime commitment for this lizard-loving family.

Sandy Binns says, "You do become quite fond of them."

Even Kauffman did not expect to be reaching out and holding an iguana's hand, though that's as far as she will go.

If you're interested in owning an iguana, you might want to keep in mind, they're cute when they're only six inches, but they can grow up to six feet.

The Binns tell us their iguanas are practically housebroken. They actually relieve themselves in the bathtub, which is then rinsed out with bleach.

And if you want to peek in on some of their cold-blooded creatures, the Binns have a live iguana cam on their Web site at cyclura.com.