Istanbul, The New Iguana, Stan For Short

J. Harris

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Young iguanaPhoto by Linus Mimietz on Unsplash

I didn’t know it was a baby iguana. He was very small and very green.

As you probably know I live in south Florida and am kind of new to the Floridian wildlife and such. I thought it was just one of the many geckos and other little lizards that I see quite often.

I had seen him around for a few days and remembered a time when I saw mature iguanas digging holes and laying eggs. The other day I thought I saw something moving in one of the spots where I saw digging about three or four months ago after the community advisors took down some old trees. 

They left it barren for a couple more months which was when I saw the digging and laying of eggs. Since that time, they had put down mulch, which has grown over very nicely because of all the rain, but still feels squashy for some reason. 

The other day I saw something crawling out and remembered about the digging I saw before. I walked closer and there was a baby iguana crawling out. A beautiful little spring green creature. I did not want to scare him as I would be the first thing he saw after being born. There were no adult iguanas around. 

I only saw this one after all that digging and laying. He took off after I got too close. Before that, I helped him to go so that he would not be eaten up by the mowers that were surrounding us that day. I thought if he could get away and hide, he wouldn’t be killed. 

Since then I had seen him around my patio just doing his iguana thing so I left him alone.

Today I was going to sit down in one my chairs and there he was sitting on the chair arm. I almost squashed him as I was not looking. I named him Istanbul because he is so brave for his size. (No comparison to the city. I just thought the name fit him.) 

I talked to him a bit and decided to get some lettuce and bring it to him as I thought it would deter him from eating some of my plants. I put it on the chair arm so he could get it easily. He did nibble a bit. I left him alone.

I went back out later and saw that he was sitting on one of my plants. Not eating it just being on it. I decided to take the pieces of lettuce that were on the chair and put them on the table I had close to the plant. He noticed. 

I went back to see what he was doing and he was chomping on the lettuce instead of my plants, so far so good. I knew something had been eating my philodendron but thought it was just the small lizards. I think it was Stan.

Anyway, he seems very content so far munching on lettuce on the little table on my patio. I hope Stan comes back tomorrow or better yet, hangs around.

Muscovy duck family

As you may remember, back in March, I wrote about this little family. When I met them the Mom had twenty-one babies the first week. She kept them close but I expect not close enough as the second time I saw her she only had around fifteen or so. While watching them through my patio window I saw a crow come by and pick one up and take it up into a tree to eat it. I was so mad I could spit.

She would sometimes leave them in the shade next to my patio and go and wash herself and do what mommy ducks do. She knew they would be safe with me for some reason. She came back after an hour or so, gathered them, and they went on their way. 

A few weeks later she had eleven, then ten and that count stayed for about two months or so.

They are the cutest things when they see you and come running. Waddle, waddle!

Recently, we found two dead babies in the street that had been run over by a car. It was very sad to me as I had seen them grow and play with each other. I had to call the community maintenance crew to pick them up. I couldn’t just leave them there. You can’t dig holes to bury anything as the land belongs to the community and the H.O.A. who would notice. They run a tight ship around here.

She is now down to eight. I saw them the next day or so after their siblings had been killed and I could sense a sadness about them. They were walking along hanging their heads a bit. I wanted to cry for them. It hurt my heart as well.

The next few days they came back to travel the neighborhood and do their rounds for food and water. I usually keep water out back because they are quite a ways from the nearest lake or canal. They would swim and wash themselves and drink and preen. They also left presents on my patio where they would sit under the chairs and sleep. Ugh!

Recently, for the past few days, I have only seen the mother, not the kids. Maybe she weened them and sent them on their way to forge for themselves. I saw a ruckus outside one day and she looked angry. Her feathers were all on end and she was cleaning them fiercely. She was preening her feathers a lot and making the kids run about for some reason. It was as if she was saying “Okay, that’s enough of this. You can go now. Mom needs her life back.” I miss them. At four months, they still are so very cute.

People do that as well, but some don’t. I’ve read too much about homeless teens to do that to my kids. 

Stan is still happily eating the lettuce, sitting in the sun, and being content.

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I usually write about a lot of subject matter from my own personal life to animal behavior. Everything in between. I have been writing for over two years but have always been a writer and avid reader. I lived in Atlanta, GA for sixty years then moved to South Florida and it was a huge change for me. I write truth as I see it in hopes it will help others.

Plantation, FL
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