Thursday, April 1, 2010

St. Thomas Iguana Adventure


One of the most memorable activities on my St. Thomas eco trip was feeding the iguanas.  I'm used to laid back Mexican iguanas that bask in the sun and pose patiently for photos. Little did I know that St. Thomas iguanas do not share such a genial nature.  My first indication was the sign above. Posted at the Wyndham Sugar Bay Resort which sponsored my trip,  I discovered similar signs all over the island. I heard rumors of iguanas snapping the fingers of the hands that fed them.  This didn't exactly make me eager to feed the little creatures but I wasn't deterred.


Wild iguanas live in trees but at exactly 10:30, which is their feeding time on the resort, I watched a dozen slowly emerge from the water, rocks and bushes.

They slithered slowly, freezing into a position and then moving when they thought the coast was clear. Most St. Thomas iguanas are greyish, to blend into the rocks along the shoreline.


Some boasted extra long tails like this one. He was visciously whipping it around, which is supposed to warn that this is his territory. I wasn't about to argue, although I noticed that a clutch of iguanas were slowly surrounding me.  This is when I was informed that iguanas love red, which naturally, I was wearing, rather vividly in the form of a red sun dress and red flower in my hair.

I dropped the lettuce quickly after this iguana shot me a menacing look. A group of them rushed toward me and I climbed on top of a table, out of their way. It turns out that they don't discriminate between humans and their food. Iguanas are vegetarians and cherries and pomegranates are some of their favorite foods. I must have looked like a big, juicy, flowering cherry ready for them to munch on.


Iguanas are  legally protected in St. Thomas, it's against the law to harm them. They are regularly fed on Sugar Bay resort but this doesn't keep them from greedily biting hands that might come between them and their food.  I think that's the last time I'll try to feed an iguana or least wear red around them.

19 comments:

Catherine said...

Wow they sound a little too aggreesive for me - or maybe they are just hyper-assertive!! Glad you escaped without being bitten..

Tiffany said...

You are very brave I don't think I would have the guts to feed them.

Fly Girl said...

Catherine, I think agressive is the correct term! I had no intention of getting close enough for them to bite me.

Tiffany, I was determined to do it since I had been so excited about it before I discovered how agressive they were.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

I had no idea iguanas were agressive. They look quite placid at times.

Fly Girl said...

Jean Luc, I had no idea either!

eden said...

Looks like that was fun feeding them. This reminds me of the iguana we saw during a picnic. He just came out from the bush and was asking for food. He was staying around the picnic area for a while before disappeared. Thank you for sharing the information. Great post.

Thanks for visiting

Footsteps said...

Feed 'em once. Wear red always (good color on you!).

Fly Girl said...

Eden, I'm so glad they weren't agressive!

Heather, thanks!

Lola said...

My favorite line - "I dropped the lettuce quickly after this iguana shot me a menacing look."

Had me laughing out loud!

Fly Girl said...

Lola, it is funny, now that I'm far away from those agressive iguanas.

Toni said...

Hey Rosalind...thanks for stopping by my place. Glad you liked the letters! :)
And I had to laugh at your post...I've heard of snapping fish and vicious seagulls (where I come they're lethal if you have fries in your hand!) but never an iguana. Haha And you were a 'red rag to a bull' (pun intended!) :p

Mary and Sean said...

How cool that the iguanas had an inner timer that compelled them out of their hiding places to eat! I understand it, of course as I tend to come alive during meal time as well!

Funny that you attracted them with your red dress. I have a similar story I'm posting soon about feeding monkeys in japan, and I was also wearing red!

A Cuban In London said...

I saw one of these babies (massive one :-D) today outside my brother in law's house.

Greetings from Kuala Lumpur.

Rachel Cotterill said...

We saw some huge iguanas in Cuba - first time I've seen them, and sadly they scuttled off whenever they saw people. But they were great! :)

Fly Girl said...

Toni, I've never heard of viscious seagulls!

Mary, I love red but now I'm rethinking it for my travels!

Cubano, rub it in while you're in Malaysia!

Rachel, I'm used to iguanas but this was my first time with snappy ones.

Anonymous said...

Iguanas used to be vegetarians until they discovered chicken wings! At least some St Thomas one do, anyway. I have a video to prove it - somewhere! Looking forward to reading more about your visit to St Thomas.

Karen (your kayak mate)

Fly Girl said...

Karen, thanks so much for stopping by! I totally believe you that St. Thomas iguanas eat chicken wings, doesn't surprise me at all. Stay tuned for my kayaking posts!

shantiwallah said...

I went to St. Thomas as a child. Why didn't anyone tell me about the iguanas, I wonder? Well, I'm just going to have to rectify this mistake and take a trip. I'm glad you got out with all of your fingers!

Fly Girl said...

Shanti, it depends o where you were. They don't crawl around everywhere, just in rocky areas with trees. Yes, you should visit again!