Wednesday, March 24, 2010

2 Mysteries Solved and a Minor Injury!

This little story falls into what Hamilton (blog reader, friend and previous owner of our house) calls "strange things that happen only to Katrina." Yes, I have had coconuts fall on me, been "nudged" by sharks, bitten by a gecko I was trying to save from the cats, and locked in the porch area of our house....I could go on but I won't. The chickens have been clucking away making a huge racket and "Big Red" has been running around raping everyone. Today there was a huge racket...the kind of racket that happens when one of the huge hawks comes down and takes off with a baby chick (or neighbors puppy) - that kind of racket. Or the kind of racket like when the hens lay eggs. I peek outside the kitchen door and into the gingers and get a glimpse of a little nest.

On closer inspection there are 14 eggs.

Later I find the mom hen brooding on her clutch.
This explains some of the clucking noises. After I investigate the latest ruckus I find there are only 3 chicks remaining from the white hen (there were 7 to start with) and only 3 of the black hen's chicks left (started with 5). This is not unusual. I spring into action when I hear the war cries to make sure it isn't the cats (hasn't ever been our cats), and have seen the birds swoop down then pick them off. As I come up the stairs I see Tuca sitting on the lawn motionless.

She is keeping her distance but has found something interesting!

There is also a hen nearby between the intruder and her chicks.

Then Blanco gets in on the scene.

The intruder is a pretty big, very green iguana. I have seen boa constrictors on the property but this is the first time I've seen an iguana.

I think he looked pretty full judging by the hanging belly. Look at the claws! I had to photograph this beauty, but didn't expect it to still be on the lawn when I got back with the camera. I also expected it to run when I got close but it just stayed motionless. I moved in kind of close to check out its really cool skin and claws and I had to get close to photograph its head.

It was very prehistoric looking. Look at that tail! The tail was about 2 feet long and I was busy looking at the claws and watching to make sure he didn't rush me when I photographed him when WHOOSH - with lightening speed he whipped his tail across my leg! Shocked the crap out of me and really stung! Who knew? I was not expecting that!

I was really shocked and backed up taking Tuca with me. That tail is long and far reaching and definitely a real weapon! It left two parallel cuts like grass cuts on my leg, but it was just like when they crack a whip in the movies... it just wrapped around my leg so fast I felt it and never saw it. Beware the iguana's tail!

Then he just kind of stood there some more with chickens roaming around, cats investigating and me shoving a camera in his face. I believe the earlier ruckus was this iguana stealing chicks and eggs. I'll be looking for him tomorrow at the first sign of chicken trouble. The only reason why I saw him was because of the cats. He blended in with the lawn despite his size and I only would have seen him if he moved. The cats are good at alerting me to interesting things in the yard. Beware the tail on these guys when may get exactly what you deserve!


Rosa said...

OMG! How creepy and exciting. I have seen some small ones by the beach,but never this big. I am surprised that it did not take off when you approached it. country living.....

Mike said...

Looks to me like the Kruse household has another new addition. Have you thought of a name for him yet?

Ivan said...

You are allowed to kill the iguanas since they are an invasive species.

Fran and Steve said...

Those non-native iguanas are known locally as "gallinas de palo", or tree chickens. They too are "wanted: dead". I've seen recipes on how to cook them in a fricase or as stuffing for empanadas. Fran

Anonymous said...

Good eating, if you cook 'em right!

I never knew they used their tail like that.

H Jr.

Mike said...

"Wanted:dead"? Yikes. Couldn't you just get him neutered or something? I mean, he's kind of cute, in a primordial sort of way.

LifeTransPlanet said...

Those are great pictures! well, at least you know where they are laying their eggs! Now you can try the box trick we were talking about! Fran, where are these lizards from if not from there? I wonder if chickens are non-native too? Why are they wanted dead (besides eating these sweet chicks and eggs)?

Anonymous said...

Its the infamous Green Iguana and is a beautiful creature indeed, but not native to the island. Its a product of the exotic pet trade, they are native to Central America. People eat them there, however, I doubt they'll become part of the PR main menu any time soon. By the way, there are real native iguanas in Mona Island that are of a different species.

Your house is becoming like Dr. Doolittle's, LOL!

H Jr.

Fran and Steve said...

Cassie, as H Jr pointed out, they are a result of the exotic pet trade. They are native to Central and South America, not Puerto Rico. When they get too big, many owners stupidly release them to the wild (as with boa constrictors and even crocodiles). They thrive in PR. These guys know how to make a living at the expense of local fauna, including birds' eggs and coquis, and flora, including garden plots and fruit trees. They even like to sun on runways, causing concern at airports. They may be a beautiful (?) animal, but do not belong in PR. The PR Department of Natural Resources advocates their elimination and has a program in place to trap and humanely euthanize them. Fran

casas tres pequeñas said...

YIKES! I've sen iguana's in our yard twice and they are pretty cool to watch. One was almost albino. Nature is cruel, I watched a hawk go swoop down across our valley and pick up a good size chicken and fly away with it. The ruckus that went on from the roosters and chickens went on for a good half hour. they were all stressed. I can't believe you've seen a boa! I HATE SNAKES