Red, orange or yellow!
Green Iguanas (nicknamed bamboo chicken) are attracted to bright colours such as red, orange and yellow. From personal experience I’d say that this bit of trivia found on a website dedicated to the care and feeding of pet iguanas is correct. We have had iguanas munch on our yellow hose nozzle, attack the orange handle on the rake, or beg for treats when I wear my red gardening gloves. But lettuce, cucumbers, and broccoli hold absolutely no fascination for them. Iguanas don’t have teeth as such, just bony ridges that can, as my sister Joann discovered, do damage to fingers if you forget to keep those pink-wiggly-things out of the iguana’s mouth.
They primarily reside in rock piles along the beach, or in empty lots, But, they will also tunnel under houses, or take up residence in just about anything that can be considered a burrow – such as the large drain on the side of our house.
Their biggest enemy seems to be dogs, especially dogs that are hungry, or dogs that like to dig. We have seen a few dead, or about-to-be-dead, iguanas being carted off by a dog or two on the island. Some of the dogs get quite excited, yipping while digging up the burrows, and that’s when we use our super-duper water-cannon and chase the marauders away. However, occasionally the dog is a quiet, efficient hunter and secures his prize before we can interfere. Score: Dog – 1, Iguana – 0.
|Municipality installed iguana-crossing warning signs|
Iguanas also have a poor survival record when crossing the busy sections of the island’s roadways. The municipality has recently gone on a campaign to make drivers more aware of many favourite iguana-crossing locations on the island by posting caution and yield-to-iguanas signs.
I was surprised to learn that Green Iguanas are classified as “Threatened” and are so listed on Appendix II of the Convention of International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES). We have at least 15 to 20 Green Iguanas currently in residence along this stretch of the beach. It’s really hard to get an accurate head count because the little devils all look alike.
|One of our resident iguanas enjoying snacks|
There is one other natural enemy that I should mention – hurricanes. The big waves associated with tropical storms and hurricanes can drown them inside their burrows. Iguanas need heat to be active.
Typically we experience a rapid drop in temperature with storms, making it difficult for the lizard to escape the inundation of water. So, between dogs, vehicles, hurricanes – and small boys with slingshots – these hapless critters can use a helping hand.
|Treats for iguana at local marina|
Keep in mind though they are vegetarians. Don’t feed them cat food, dog food, cheese, leftover pizza, biscuits, or anything with protein, wheat or corn in it. A diet that contains animal proteins will lead to kidney failure, and this is a terribly long and drawn out way for an iguana to die.
The fresh fruit or vegetables should be shredded or chopped into small pieces. Remember they don’t have teeth. Some suggestions on the pet websites include green beans, winter squash, sweet potatoes, yams, carrots. Fruit can also be offered such as strawberries, cantaloupe or raspberries. Not my raspberries! I’m not sharing my imported raspberries with iguanas. I do share the local papayas, pineapples, mangoes, and bananas. They adore bananas. When I appear with a dish of bananas those lizards run so fast their four little legs barely touch the ground.
2. The male iguanas have a hemipenis. That’s two – that they can use alternately. Twice the fun!
3. A group of iguanas is called a lounge of lizards. As my character Jessica Sanderson mused in Tormenta Isla Book #3 of the Isla Mujeres Mystery series, Book;
|My attempt at hand-painting a sign.|
She supplied chopped fruits and vegetables to the lounge of lizards in the garden. She’d read that amusing expression on YucatanLiving.com. A group of lizards was called a lounge. So, she supposed, a group of lizards hanging around could be thought of as a lounge of lizards lounging in a lizard lounge.
Lynda, Lawrie and Sparky