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Friday, May 19, 2017

The "Pinel Island Explored: Part II - Pemanent Residents Of The Island" Story

A green iguana hiding in the shadows of a palm tree.
He is about five feet long.
It was an ordinary day.  Walking on the small French island of Pinel searching for interesting photo- graphs.  Wasn't long before I came upon an entire group of green iguanas.  Iguanas of all sizes ranging in color from lime green that were maybe a foot long, nose to tail, and weighing a pound or two at best to grey-green ones that seemed to be close to five feet long, nose to tail, that may weigh up to ten pounds.  
This iguana has a lighter green colorization.
Click on photo to enlarge it.
Green iguanas can be found from the rain forests of northern Mexico to Central America to the Caribbean islands to southern Brazil.  The term "iguana" is derived from the Arawak which is one of the first tribes in St. Martin.  They thrive best in temperatures ranging from 79 to 95 degrees F and feeding primarily on leaves, flowers and fruit, but let me tell you ... they seem to be eating just about anything and everything that the beach goers are throwing and handing to them today.  
These two iguanas can be seen despite
the heavy smoke from the kitchen grill.
Right behind the kitchen area of one of the beach bars on the island, Karibuni, are gathered maybe two dozen or so green iguanas of all sizes, waiting for the chef, or one of his staff, to throw something their way.  And, when he does, all hell breaks loose.  Survival of the fittest seems to be the case with the larger ones demanding the prime pieces of produce or scrapings from the grill.  The larger iguanas dominate, but not without some jostling from smaller ones who climb all over the larger ones, trying to get their share of the rewards.  In the long run, it seems as if all manage to fill their bellies with something.  I walked as close as possible, not wanting to spook them, and began snapping photographs.  I got down on one knee and they begin to walk toward me.  
This one is approaching my camera and
is more than likely seeing its image in
the glass lens.  His color isn't as bright,
indicating he is much older.
I placed my camera on the ground and snapped photo after photo as they walked  toward the lens, probably seeing their image in the glass of the lens.  The smoke from the grill lends an eerie mood to the photos of these reptiles that seem prehistoric with their armor-like shield and spikes down the center of their backs.  And, that tail ... well, they get that thing whipping around and that could really hurt if it caught you. They have large, round, very pronounced jowls which are located under the jaw which are protected by the sybtympanic plate which is a large green circular-shape scale.  They also have a white photo sensory organ on the top of their head called the parietal eye or third eye which cannot form images, but is sensitive to changes in light and dark and can detect movement.  Shortly, two young girls and one guy, all in their mid-twenties, walked toward them with leafs of lettuce.  
This couple are sitting amongst the iguanas holding
lettuce leaves for the to eat.  The iguanas show
no fear of them.  This one is reaching for the lettuce.
They sat amongst the iguanas and shortly were covered with iguanas of all sizes.  One large one sat in the lap of the male, not trying to harm him, but just begging for a piece of the lettuce.  In no time there were a dozen or more people with cameras and cell phones snapping away.  My wife walked over to me with a hand full of lettuce from her sandwich and said she would take photos of me feeding the iguanas as the other three were doing.  Thought about it for a minute and then declined, since I have enough medical problems at present and don't need to be bitten by those razor like teeth.  Just watching and taking photos of these prehistoric-looking reptiles was good enough for me.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.  PS -  Check out the YouTube video of iguana feeding on the island of PInel. Also, remember to click on photographs to enlarge them.

This iguana came running when it saw the lettuce leaves being distributed.
This old iguana is inquisitive as it comes toward my camera.
Their scales and "armor" can be seen in this photograph.
A photo from the top show more of the scales and prehistoric look they have.
This green iguana still carries most of its color that it had when it hatched.

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