Blog Schedule

I post on Monday with an occasional random blog thrown in for good measure. I do my best to answer all comments via email and visit around on the days I post.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

It's All About Lizards - Part V - Iguanas

Who knows how many live in the trees around the house on St. Thomas. Erva thinks as many as two dozen. They range in size from bright green young ones 10 to 12 inches long, to grand oldsters up to five feet. The older ones, with distinguished chin waddles and soft spines on their backs, have an air of wisdom about them. If not wisdom, then a look that says they know something the rest of us don't.

We like to think all the iguanas in the trees around the house are descended from a pet we had. Ignatius Iguana lived in a large cage we had on the end of the porch. He was young, less than a foot long. I thought I would be able to train him, as one can do, to walk on a leash and hang out on my shoulder. One day while I was feeding him Ignatius escaped. Fast on his heels was our cat. Iguana and cat raced down the length of the 40 foot porch. Ignatius was, unafraid? unaware? that the porch is a good 12 feet above the ground and went flying off the end. He landed without injury and disappeared into the bush and trees. As for the cat, like a cartoon character, he came to a screeching halt, tail lashing back and forth in angry frustration that such a large lizard had escaped him.

Iguanas are by nature, arboreal. It seems odd that such large lizards are at home among the branches. Yet they move about with ease and grace, eating tender new leaves and flowers. They are vegetarian. If they want to go to a lower level or get to the ground, they simply fall. That’s right, they let go and fall. We often hear crashing in the trees and know that an iguana is making a controlled fall through the branches.

Although they prefer hanging out in trees iguanas are comfortable on the ground. They are surprisingly fast when they run. When an iguana gets up to full speed, it is actually running on its hind legs. It holds its front feet up just off the ground as if lifting long skirts and can book across the ground at a pretty good clip.

Except for its tail, which it can use like a whip, the large lizard is harmless. They are not too difficult to catch. And all one has to do to sooth it is turn it on its back and scratch its belly, at which point, like a frog, it becomes completely docile.

Perhaps this noble creature is descended from Ignatius.

Here’s one relaxed and asleep on an over cast morning. That’s his waddle hanging down below his right leg. And you can just see a tinge of pink in his face. This fellow, and the one above, are somewhere between four and five feet long.

Here’s a picture of an oldster moving from one branch to another.

And here's me at the beach, enticing a young one with some lettuce.

Posted by PicasaHere endth the lesson on lizards.


  1. Great articles and pictures, Bish. I enjoyed all of them.

    I asked my husband if he remembered lizards growing up in Hawaii and he said no. I'm sure they have them, but maybe he just didn't see many of them as a kid.

    Fun stories, all the same!

  2. Just finished reading all five posts to my daugher.
    She requests more lizard posts and pictures!

    She said, "I wish she would write more stories about them."

  3. Thanks Rena, for coming by my blog.

    Angela, I do have another lizard story, an humerous adventure story, all about a lizard who has to save the day. I've been trying to find a home for him for several years now, but have no takers yet. Sigh...

  4. You know how I feel about iguanas. Ignatius sounds awesome.

    I still think there's a lizard storybook in your future!

  5. Why wouldn't Ignatious want to stick around? They look very content. Great story.

  6. Blish, I hope my earlier blog did not scare you with my family tree conclusions. It would just seem that we have a tie since there couldn't be that many Erva H's (except in your family). A few years back we went to the Hartwell tavern in MA. Since then I have been trying to learn more of this side of my family history, I do know that my gr-mother went to VT to visit Frank and I believe he came to see her(as I have seen pics plus read old postcards from Puerto Rico). My grandmother's dad had died when she was a young child so I do not know much of this side. I have seen pictures of Hattie my great-greatgrmother and have a piece of her music she had published, as well as copies of a few poems that she wrote. If you do not respond, I will know that you have no interest. Just wanted you to know I am not crazy and this has been a real push for me to write this on line for all the world to see.

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