In addition to being President, Theodore Roosevelt was a great outdoorsman. He often took trips that revolved around exploring and hunting. He and his entire family were also great animal lovers and it was not uncommon for Roosevelt to bring a new pet back with him from his adventures. This is how the Roosevelts acquired Bill, their lizard.
In a letter to his son Archie, dated May 10th, 1903, Roosevelt says that he is bringing back some treasures for the children, among them Bill the Lizard. “He is a little live lizard called a ground frog,” says Roosevelt. “Very cunning, who lives in a small box.”
Bill doesn’t get mention again until 1904, when Roosevelt sends a brief note to Archie, who is away from the White House. “The other day when Mother and I were walking down the steps of the big front porch we saw a movement among the honeysuckles and there was Bill the Lizard,” Roosevelt wrote. “We have seen him several times since and he is evidently entirely at home here.”
Bill receives no further mention, but it appears he was happy on the White House grounds and well-loved by the Roosevelt children.