Monday, July 03, 2006

Iguanas I Have Known

I'll add some iguana pics as soon as Blogger cooperates...

Meanwhile...


Here's me and a few feathered friends.

Why do they like me so much? Well, my earrings are apparently really tasty.

There's a new pet store in town and I thought I'd go have a look at what's there, ostensibly to buy a nicer condominium for my beloved stick-bugs, but really I was wondering if this store carried baby iguanas.

You see, I once inherited an iguana. An elderly one.

Sophie had had a rather sad life with three or four previous owners and had somehow survived a decade or so of neglect. I really wanted to rescue her and was determined to give her a good home until she passed away. But, as I suspected from the beginning, she was not a pet for the half-hearted nor the faint of heart.

Despite having regrown her tail at some point (you could see how it had grown back deformed), she stretched a healthy three and a half feet from snout tip to tail. My cats gave her a wide berth. When she started lumbering towards their food dish, you better believe they made way. She moved in a prehistoric gait that reminded me of a crocodile. Or possibly a dinosaur.

She required heat lamps and finely-chopped fresh fruits and vegetables. She needed daily swims in the bathtub (she was potty-trained to the tub but would often only perform if you massaged her tummy). Her mighty toenails required clipping. She need special vitamins. And she really would have preferred trees to climb in, but leaping from sofa to chair was the next best thing.

Also, although she never bit anyone, she would turn her head to one side to give you a glare, and let you glimpse the tiny but razor-sharp teeth in her open mouth to let you know she wasn't trying out for Most Cuddlesome Lizard in the world. I loved her, but she was a handful. I would never, ever walk into a pet shop and buy a baby iguana.

Once, a few years after Sophie's death at the venerable age of fourteen, I spied some tiny and adorable baby iguanas in a pet shop down-island. I approached a clerk and pretended I was interested in purchasing one. I wanted to see what would be said to a potential owner...

It boiled down to "Cute l'il fellas, aren't they!"

There was no mention of all the special needs this kind of pet needs.There was especially no mention of the strong possibility that a male iguana might grow up to be as long as your love-seat. It seemed really irresponsible to me. This is probably why so many iguanas either die young from health problems, or are abandoned when they attain the size of furniture.

I was glad to find no iguanas at this new pet store. Apparently my town now has some sort of bylaw concerning them. I'll have to find out the details about that. But I do know that if you really want such a pet there are many older ones that can be adopted from reptile rescue societies.

Now that I travel regularly there is no question of myself adopting another one though. It's one thing to ask your mother to make sure the cat's dish is full of kibble while I'm away for a month; quite another to give my giant lizard a bath with massage.

14 comments:

blackcrag said...

I remember Sophie... definitely not Most Cuddly Reptile material. Those are boa constrictors--well, they like to hug you, anyways. But she was unusual, and interesting, and defintiely a conversation starter.

gnightgirl said...

Very cool post. I have a friend that would faint dead away if there was a bird in her ear.

The iguana story was very interesting and educational. What a good Iguana-Mama you were. How long did you have her? You're very brave.

erikku said...

I never suspected iguanas got that large or were capable of leaping anywhere.

Thanks for the info, I'll stick to dogs. ^_^

Liz said...

We had two at my junior high, I can not imagine one in a regular sized house roaming around. You are brave, as are your cats.

Dagoth said...

Hi Spider

I once saw a documentary on poeple buying parrots and neglecting them and not being prepared for how long they live or how much attention they require. I did not know that this was the same with Iquanas. It's sad that the pet stores just want to make a sale and don't warn people about the amount of care that will be involved. I'm glad Sophie found a good home...

Tim Rice said...

It was fun reading your iguana story. I don't think I'll ever want one as a pet though. :)

Hope said...

I would love to see the look on my mother's face if I asked her to give a giant lizard a bath and a massage!

Ms.L said...

That's really neat!

My kids want one and I've always said no,supsecting they needed specialized care that we weren't cut out to give and HA HA Mum was right,lol

BostonPobble said...

You are so multitalented! And I thought it was a big deal to rescue doggies! ;) Love the picture, too.

OB Juan said...

What? A new pet store? I am so out of touch!

Zambo said...

Hey Spider Girl!

Just catching up with my Blogger pals!

I hope all is well.

I liked the Canadian flags in the last post, by the way...

Iguanas certainly sound like a lot of work! Personally, I prefer furry beasts to the scaly ones and our fine feathered friends...(Ferrets are a bit of work too, but I would get one again though).

Anyway, I hope all is well!

Take care out there, Spider Girl!

Your Pal,

Zambo.

Brianne said...

Thank You for your post on Iguanas!
Before I inherited two of my own I only knew of one guy (cough cough dateless geek cough cough) that had a full size iguana roaming his house.
Mine are not full grown yet, but you will be happy to know that they have been rescued from two separate "look how cute" situations to live in an outdoor (temperature maintained) 8x8x8 enclosure filled with edible (non toxic) plants and kickass driftwood perches. In fact I just called by BF to make sure he made fresh salad for them today. (squash, beans, peas, bok choy, escarole & dandelion leaves)
They eat healthier than I do by far.... Once they mellow out and socialize some more they will accompany us to the beach and the local pub, just like our snake and chihuahuas. (a veritable menagerie)

Fleurtay said...

love lizards!

Tai said...

Fleurtay loves lizard...but I do TOO!!!