San Salvador Rock Iguana
The San Salvador Rock Iguana is a critically endangered species of lizard native to the BahamasWikimedia Commons

Two Romanian women have been caught trying to smuggle endangered iguanas into the UK.

The rare San Salvador rock iguanas were stuffed into socks by the smugglers, who tried to take the creatures through Heathrow Airport.

The lizards were found by customs officers in a suitcase at Terminal Five, when they stopped the two women who had arrived from the Bahamas.

According to reports, the women were trying to take the iguanas on to Dusseldorf in Germany. All but one of the lizards survived the journey.

Tiger cub smuggled into Iran
In 2010, Piyawan Palasarn tried to smuggle a drugged tiger cub into Iran in a suitcaseYouTube

Grant Miller, from the Border Force's endangered species team, said: "This particular species of iguana is incredibly rare – only a few hundred are believed to be left in existence – so this was a remarkable and very important seizure.

"Given the circumstances we found them in, it seems incredible that all but one survived such a long flight.

"The surviving animals were dehydrated and are now under the supervision of a specialist vet. We are also working with experts to find the best way to protect and safeguard these endangered creatures longer term."

The two women, aged 24 and 26, were arrested on suspicion of importation offences.

In 2009, a Norwegian man tried to smuggle 14 royal pythons into Norway by stuffing them into socks and duct-taping them to his chest. Upon exiting the ferry, customs officials noticed his body was moving unnaturally and stopped the man. Upon searching his belongings, they found a further 10 albino leopard geckos.

Another bizarre case of animal smuggling occurred in 2010, when a live, drugged tiger cub was discovered in a passenger's suitcase. Piyawan Palasarn had attempted to import the two-month old cat into Iran from Bangkok, when officials found the sleeping animal hidden among stuffed toy tigers.

It is thought she was trying to sell the animal on the black market in Iran, where it could have fetched around 100,000 baht (£1872).