June 9, 2007

Lizards in the garden

green iguana, La Ceiba, HondurasGreen Iguana

Green iguanas (Iguana iguana) are very common here in Honduras. Unfortunately, people like to eat them so they may be becoming less common. The one was rescued from the jaws of Chloe by Frank. I had hoped that Chloe learned her lesson a few weeks back when she was bitten on the lip by a pichete (see below) but apparently not.

green iguana, La Ceiba, HondurasThis one is a juvenile only about 15 inches long (40 cm.). Another very large iguana is often resident on our property as well. He is 3-4 feet (1-1.2 m.) long including the tail - pretty impressive. I've only seen it 20 feet (6 m.) up in the trees resting on a branch, never on the ground. I can't get a photo because he blends in with the foliage.

He is a male and becomes orange during breeding season. Iguanas become lighter, almost florescent, when they are older. They also can become darker when they are cold, in order to absorb the heat from the sun.

I brought Chloe inside and asked Frank to put the iguana safely on one the trees below. Hopefully he did that and didn't take it home for dinner instead. I read that in Costa Rica, iguanas are called "tree chickens." I was tricked into tasting one once. Of course, like all strange things, they say it tastes like chicken. It was so tough, I knew immediately that it wasn't chicken.

lizard, La Ceiba, HondurasThe other day I was walking (more like climbing) down the hill to adjust the water sprinkler and came eye-to-eye with this guy. I haven't seen this kind of lizard before or at least one in this stage of life.

I yelled for El Jefe to bring the camera
Pronto! I knew if I moved he would be gone. So the lizard and I stood there, not taking our eyes off one another, until El Jefe brought the camera.

El Jefe tells me that this is a pichete, which I believe are some species of Sceloperus. It looks different to me than another type of lizard, also called pichete, that I often see scurrying away from my garden beds. The color of that one is usually more pronounced black and white. I wish I could tell you what this is, but maybe you can tell me instead.

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