Fort Mill Times

Unusual Fort Mill pets win costume contest

Mark Le Roy holds Jesse and James, his Bearded Dragons. The pets won a Halloween costume contest at PetSmart.
Mark Le Roy holds Jesse and James, his Bearded Dragons. The pets won a Halloween costume contest at PetSmart.

The James Gang was spotted this week and no, there were no wild West-style shootouts involved.

Actually, the outlaws were Jesse and James, a pair of Sandfire Bearded Dragons owned by a Fort Mill family. The pets took first prize in the PetSmart Halloween costume contest last week. Although Jesse and James are not bucking broncos or herding sheepdogs - or do any of the things that might come to mind when envisioning the old West - they are outlaws in their own right, according to their owners. But lovable ones.

"I just thought they looked cool. Now I like to take them places with me," said Mark Le Roy of Fort Mill, the 13-year-old lizard-loving owner.

Mark has had Jesse for just about as long as he can remember. James came around only about a year ago.

"Jesse is at least seven years old. James is about two or three," said Cheryl Le Roy, Mark's mother. "We adopted Jesse from a pet shop. Mark fell in love with her."

The lizards, native to Australia, can live to be about 10 years old, Mark said. When they are not sleeping or bobbing their heads to talk to each other, the scaly duo munch on lettuce leaves or a cricket if they're lucky. Their award-winning costumes were matching pointy witch hats and capes, black with orange and purple.

"There were about 15 dogs there," Mark said about the costume contest. "All the other animals were dogs."

The lizards live in a sandy tank, and all they need other than that is a heat rock.

"They are interesting, and easy to take care of," Cheryl said.

Owning Australian Bearded Dragons is not all fun and games. Mark had to spend lots of time taming the lizards, especially James, Cheryl said.

"James was mean; He snapped at first," Mark said. "One day, he was clawing up my arm, the next, he was fine. Now he is really nice. I can take him for walks on a leash."

Living in the house along with Jesse, James and the family is a scorpion named Zeke and about 40 fish, Mark said.

Mark said he wants to be a veterinarian when he gets older and specialize in reptiles and fish. He also has plans to turn an upstairs closet in the house into a giant terrarium full of sand for a pet monitor, a lizard that can grow up to about six feet long.

Now he just has to work on convincing his mom.