Monday, July 28, 2008

Iguanas

I've said previously that Iguanas are to Cayman as frogs are to Bermuda. Iguanas here are plentiful, varying in sizes and colours and they roam around free like no body's business. While they look very much like the feisty Komodo dragon, the iguanas are quite timid and actually run for their lives if they spot someone getting too close, even if it is for a photo op (I tried). Unfortunately because of the fact that they're roam the island, they also end up as road kill and when they do, it's not a pretty sight. Cringe worthy really. Maybe because they're bigger? I'm not sure.

A few months ago Cayman woke up to the work week and found themselves starting at the newspaper to find a picture of six dead iguanas that were laid side by side, very much like a scene from CSI. Someone went on a slaughtering spree and decided to target these iguanas. Sad really. Cayman took this very seriously and the investigation is an ongoing process. Workplaces began taking up collections for the Blue Iguana Recovery Fund to do their part.


Here are some Iguana shots taken so far around the island. This first one was during our trek to the Turtle Farm. This guy quickly slid up the tree, camouflaging itself so well that the family that just parked next to the tree had no idea of its existence. The wary look on its face says it all.


Once inside the Turtle Farm, we spotted this one, languidly making its way across the sand, with the scorching hot summer sun beating down on it. This time I did call to its attention, so everyone around me (especially the same visiting family) was able to make it to the opposite end watch it walk by.


Of course, no exhibit is complete without a showcase of Cayman's very own Iguanas. Apparently they are also highly territorial, which is why you'll find them in solitary confinement at the exhibits. Note that accompanied these exhibits says:

GRAND CAYMAN BLUE IGUANA, Grand Cayman
CRITICALLY ENDANGERED (LESS THAN 300 IN THE WILD)
The Grand Cayman Blue Iguana is Cayman's largest native land animal and the most endangered iguana in the world. With international conservation assistance, the National Trust for the Cayman Islands operates a successful breed/ release programme to recover this beautiful animal from the brink of extinction.
Adult males can grow to over 5 feet long and weigh up to 25 lbs. Cayman iguanas are vegetarians feeding on fallen fruits, low-hanging flowers and leaves. Our females blue iguana on display is often a dark greyish colour. She exhibits her brilliant blue when warmed by the sun.



LESSER LITTLE CAYMAN IGUANA, Cayman Brac & Little Cayman
ENDANGERED
The Lesser/ Little Cayman Rock Iguana very similar in biology and behaviour to its Grand Cayman Blue cousin. The species is quite possible extinct on Cayman Brac, but abundant on Little Cayman.
Adult males can grow to over 5 feet long and weigh up to 25 lbs. Cayman iguanas are vegetarians feeding on fallen fruits, low-hanging flowers and leaves. Our male Iguana on display usually exhibits a dark grey-brown colour, which turns lighter as he warms in the sun.


And I close with this GRUMPY fella. The reason this shot is all blurry is because he was so close to the cage that I couldn't focus, but you can still tell how grumpy his is. I half expected him to lunge at the camera lens, but surprisingly he stayed put. Yes, I say 'he' because I know he's a male iguana.

3 comments:

ZenDenizen said...

This made me recall all the tiny lizards running around my uncle's flat in Bombay. But 5 ft long, wow!

Mighty Afroditee said...

Yech!!! Nasty, yucky, disgustin' creatures. I hate 'em, I hate 'em, I hate 'em. let me not recount the story of the DINOSAUR that had me trapped in my car!!! Yech! Yech! AND YECH!!!

Well, I do have a STRONG aversion for anything of a reptilian and amphibian persuasion...tee hee...

Some men count in that category as well!)

MsCutePants@gmail.com said...

Heck Zen, at least those tiny lizards kept the mosquitoes at bay. I'll take em anytime, just as long as they stay away from me!

Mighty Afroditee: Did you read my post about how a lizard landed on my arm as I was driving in Bermuda...Now what do you say?
Yeah I knwo some men count in that category as well but really, aren't we giving the lizards a bad rap...?