Friday, February 8, 2013

Creature Feature: Iguanas

Coming to greet us on Allen's Cay, Bahamas

Lizards in general are ubiquitous throughout the Caribbean, and iguanas are among the largest here. They look like little dinosaurs (and I think they’ve been used as dinosaur stand-ins in some older movies), and can grow to more than five feet in length, including tail. In the Bahamas, guides bring tourists out to Allans Cay, where they feed the endemic Allans Cay iguanas. Needless to say, this spoils the little suckers, and when you land your dinghy on the beach, the iguanas come rushing down to see what you’ve brought them (we brought them nothing, as we try not to feed wild animals). So, if you have a reptile phobia, or just don’t like being rushed by spiky lizards, don’t visit Allans Cay. On many islands, iguanas just wander about, and pretty much ignore you as you’re trying to take their picture. The shyest we’ve encountered were on Hassel Island just off of St. Thomas, USVI. As we were walking the trails, we’d round a corner, and hear this crashing in the scrub as iguanas, some quite large, took off at top speed. In Grand Cayman, they have blue iguanas, and are so proud of them, that they have artist-painted iguana statues all around the island. Here are pictures of a few of the iguanas we’ve seen.

Face off! They were hissing at and sparring with one another.
Blue iguana at botanical gardens in Grand Cayman
Colorful iguana statue at Rum Point, Grand Cayman

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