Illustration at: http://www.m-w.com/mw/art/iguana.htm

If you live in a cattle, chicken, and lots of fresh vegetable modern society, iguana is one neat pet to keep. Some people eat Iguana s though, mostly because they live out there and they don't have supermarkets and if you ask them, they would say it taste good. I wonder if I'll ever run across such a scary dish. Below is a little snippet I found on the web:

"Iguana A Rotisserie" -- from RON, Adventurer/Explorer - Recipes For Adventure

Sitting with a chief in the back swamps of Central America I was served some delicious white meat on a broad leaf. Suddenly I was struck by the fact I had seen no chickens in that area. Alert, I asked politely what it was.

Lizard's tail I was told.

When I had very politely finished dinner, the chief was so pleased at my obvious enjoyment (an explorer has to be a consummate actor at times), that he showed me how it was prepared. The iguana comes in various sizes; they are shot with arrows despite their swiftness. Only the tail is used. It is up to a third the reptile's length. This tail is cut off close to the body. A stick is forced into it to keep it straight and it is toasted, while being rotated over hot coals. The tail is then skinned and laid on any broad green leaf. The meat, aside from a slight greenish cast, is not really detectable from the breast of chicken. I am told that there are various different ways of catching and cooking iguanas that vary from area to area. However, the point I wish to make is that when eating with polite formal native chiefs it is wisest not to ask, halfway through the meal, what one is eating. -- http://adventurer.lronhubbard.org/page63.htm

Iguanas are large lizards, adapted to drier conditions and with a thick, scaly skin. They make good pets and are yummy (I have not actually eaten one, but I'm told they're delicious). They live throughout South America and up into the temperate areas of North America, where they are America's largest lizard. They also live on any number of tropical islands, leading to a high degree of speciation. The primary way to tell if your large scaly lizard is an iguana of some sort is looking for the presence of pleurodont teeth, that is, the teeth are attached by their sides to the inner rim of the jaw, as opposed to just being rooted straight down into the gums.

Some live on the ground, some spend most of their time in the water, some live in the trees. Some aren't all that large. Some are humongous. Like I said, there's a lot of speciation. If you want more details, select a specific species of iguana from the list below.

Class Reptilia
Order Squamata
Suborder Iguania*

Family Iguanidae:


* Includes anoles and chameleons, among others.

     Free to a good home or an iguana connoisseur - one very cute, foot long iguana with a snapping problem purchased by daughter for this mother on my birthday. Mother loved her previous iguana - 2.5 feet long also green and called 'Gumby.'     This smaller version iguana has some of those same endearing qualities that Gumby had, but this one has been christened 'Bugs.' You know ... green like a bug. He is fast and sharp both in tactic and with teeth. Bugs has been potty trained, just like any cat except his box is a nice warm bath. Some additional information about my experience with iguanas may be helpful in making your decision.

    Potty Training Recommendation:
    Once a day, run a 2-4" bath of *warm* water - warm is stressed here because you don't want to cook the little bugger - and let him do his thing, otherwise it is his water bowl that becomes his litter box. You must keep your iguana on a decent bathing schedule or they will make you wait on yours. This is an especially important matter, for free roaming house iguanas - they can hold it but they won't hold it forever.

    Diet and Growth:
    These creatures can eat like a horse, which means he will grow to be large but it will take a few years. If given the room to grow and good light and diet, they can easily reach 4 feet or more. They are vegetarians by nature and by mood. If he is in a particularly obnoxious mood he will add an occasional bit of iron, usually via a slow moving finger. I still have the steel-laced gloves used with Gumby and will give those to any taker of Bugs. Bugs seems to be acting like the male. Male iguanas are more aggressive than their female counterparts, although I have been unable to detect if it has developed the signs of gender yet. Gender shows with age.

    Personal Pet Qualities:

     Recreation:
    Iguanas have many endearing qualities as a pet. They love to swim and are quite adapted to the water. Bugs is too small but I used to take Gumby to the 24Hour work out in Davis occasionally, in the middle of the night, to go swimming with me. No, this facility was not aware of this; I don't think they would have agreed to it if they knew. Make sure it isn't a prolonged swim and that your iguana is rinsed off thoroughly to get the chlorine off him or her. You also want to make sure you do not take your iguana swimming in a pool frequented by others if it is close to their scheduled potty time. Bathtub, pool, water bowl makes no difference to your iguana. If you take your iguana to a lake make sure the water is reasonable in temperature and that they are wearing an iguana leash - yes you can buy them - or you may end up iguana-less.

     Traveling:
     Gumby used to go to classes with me at the UC and ride on the handlebars of my bike. Of course I held onto his tail so it wouldn't get in the spokes. They have excellent dog like qualities also. They will hang their head out the window of your car while you hold them or sit on the dash board and pant like a dog. Feeding them strawberries, especially before you go out for a walk will give your iguana a satisfied look - like he had just finished a nice bite of bloody beef.

     Protection:
     Iguanas are also great watchdogs. How many people would think to break into a house where a larger sized iguana is sitting in the windowsill? They love looking out windows and being up in high places - as in straight up your curtains and onto the curtain rod.
     If your iguana slips outside because one of the kids leaves the door open, scan the local trees. The only time Gumby ever got out; I received a frantic call from a neighbor asking if my iguana had gotten out because there was one looking in her second story patio window. Must have been a sight to see this mother of three, shimmy up a tree to catch a two and a half-foot, green family pet.

     Concerning Personalities:
     One more fun thing with iguanas, they are curious and they do develop their own personality and preferences to people, which I believe is related to who feeds them. Bugs will hiss at my daughter who bought him for me, even when she tries to feed him. This is an iguana's way of saying, "I don't like you, leave me alone." But with regular attention and gentle handling any iguana will begin to show lizard-like attachment to its handler, over time. As small as Bugs is you just have to be quick and keep your hand away from the front of him. Always approach from behind. If you must approach from the front be like the Trojans bearing gifts. Try cutting some 3" long thin slices of zucchini to offer him if he is jumpy, and he is always jumpy. This will give you a few inches leeway if he jumps for your fingers. What's that saying? 'The fastest way to a man's heart is through his stomach'; well it works with iguanas too.
     My girlfriend totally disliked my previous iguana, Gumby, because he would follow her around the house when she visited. Ever been stalked by a large lizard? Surely it was more out of curiosity than dislike, but she would demand he be locked up in my bedroom if he got down from one of his varied sitting spots. It is in my opinion that even lizards can sense if someone dislikes them.

Additional Information and Cautions for the Iguana Owner:
     Iguanas have very, very, very sharp, translucent teeth set just a hair apart so that if they latch onto you and you pull away they will leave long incisions the depth of which match the height of their teeth. If you do get latched onto by one hold their body tight as it is their nature to whip their body around to shred larger pieces of food, you being the food at this moment. Have someone grab a toothbrush or knife, depending upon how mad you are, and pry their jaws apart, just long enough to remove your flesh from their grip. They will lock on is why this procedure is necessary. If bit soak in warm water douse with hydrogen peroxide - whoever said hydrogen peroxide doesn't hurt has never used it on an iguana bite - and check in with your doctor. There are small micro biotic parasites that live in their mouth and you may need something to combat them.      Iguanas are cold blooded and reflect their surrounding temperature well. Bugs will come with a heating lamp and rock to help keep his blood circulating. You don't want to get them too warm and never set them out in the sun in their aquarium unless it is a lunch thing, as this will bake them. There are sure signs of them getting too cold. Yes, your iguana can freeze to death if he or she gets too cold. Have you ever seen a slow motion cartoon? This is how they will move when their body temperature drops. To warm them up quickly and gently I recommend laying them directly on your body, as close to the skin as possible or right against it if you can stand it. The middle of the chest is ideal. My previous iguana on several occasions required a fast warm up. This was not a problem because when he traveled with me on foot in public he often traveled under my coat on cold days, hanging just below my collarbone on the left side. On warm days he would ride on my shoulder unless I was sneaking into class or a restaurant. Gumby was well adjusted to close body contact so would sit quietly on me. Being cold is no fun when you are an iguana.

One Caution Concerning Specifically Male Iguanas:
     When they get older and reach an iguana puberty, there is a certain phermonesscent put out during one time of the month by human females. This scent is reminiscent of female iguanas in heat. Yes, ladies, that is right, you smell like a lady iguana during your special time of the month, so remember to keep your male iguana caged during that special week. Because of this small item male iguanas are not normally recommended as pets for women, unless you are the adventurous type.

    In closing, it has come to my attention, in writing this ad that I would like to withdraw my original offer. Remembering all the fun I had with my Gumby has made me rethink posting this notice. I have found that this silly little iguana is developing a gentler side. Besides I am looking forward to seeing how he handles my three male cats in about another year.

I*gua"na (?), n. [Sp. iguana, from the native name in Hayti. Cf. Guana.] Zool.

Any species of the genus Iguana, a genus of large American lizards of the family Iguanidae. They are arboreal in their habits, usually green in color, and feed chiefly upon fruits.

⇒ The common iguana (I. tuberculata) of the West Indies and South America is sometimes five feet long. Its flesh is highly prized as food. The horned iguana (I. cornuta) has a conical horn between the eyes.

 

© Webster 1913.

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