Green Iguana

Green Iguana Anguilla
Stuart Wynne 2nd December 2016 No Comments

It was quite a surprise a few months ago when this beautiful Green Iguana came onto our porch in Anguilla having presumably lost its way. Our miniature Dachshund was equally shocked as he has never seen a lizard this big, usually enjoying chasing its smaller cousins under rocks, or if he quick enough, removing their somewhat detachable tails. This particular lizard was a different thing, and he didn’t know whether to chase it or run away. In the end he decided to just bark in that cocky yet nervous kind of way. Anyway, slight digression there………

These stunning reptiles only arrived in Anguilla a couple of decades ago after reportedly washing up carried by floating flora after Hurricane Luis in 1995. While they are undeniably beautiful, they do bring with them a conservation issue. As an invasive species they out-compete the native Lesser Antillean Iguana for food and habitat, so much so that the local species has now been pushed into only a few small corners of the island. They can also hybridise with them, thus diluting their pure genetics and eradicating the species from the inside out. Over the last couple of years the Anguilla National Trust has been running a protection programme where the native species were captured and, if needed, rehabilitated while their genetics were tested to confirm no hybridisation had occurred. Once fit and healthy there were relocated to Prickly Pear Cays Marine Park, where no Green Iguanas live. Nice work!

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