Gosh, I don't recall a day that I live in Venezuela along Lake Maracaibo that iguanas did not play a role in some capacity – they were always around. When I was old enough to run I used to chase the darn things under the house. When we took siestas in the mid-afternoon, I used to lay in bed and listen to the things drop out of the trees overhanging the house and hitting the tin roof and rolling down until they fell off. When I was old enough to use a slingshot, I used to spend the better part of the day hunting the things along the dike in Tia Juana and Lagunillas. I became an excellent shot and used to kill the things using ball bearings as ammo at distances of 30 feet or more. When Dad took us for rides down outside of camp along Carretera Nacional, we used to see iguana hunters walking the side of the road carrying live iguanas tied by the tails and hanging over sticks that they carried over their shoulders. And then as the boys got older we used to find iguana eggs and coat them with chocolate and give them to the new kids who wanted to run with us -- suckers -- and laugh our heads off when they bit into the eggs.

When we road our bikes along the dike behind the main office in Tia Juana, we used to be surprised by the darn things as they jumped off the ends of the limbs where they had been sunning themselves and dropped into the lake. They were good swimmers. Nothing stunk as bad as iguana droppings so we named an older kid, Tommie Green in our group who was a bully, Iguana, and the name stuck until we went off to high school.

My sister, Cris, was a Tom Boy when I was in high school and she became a great iguana hunter.

An iguana could do a job to a finger as I recall. Mostly it was the shock factor of having the thing latch on and not wanting to let go.

I also used to catch the red and blue lizards which grew about 8 inches long as I recall. I would put them in my pocket and take them to school and turn them loose in class when the teacher wasn't watching and was thoroughly entertained by the whooping and hollering of the girls as they tried to avoid having a lizard climb their legs.

Iguanas are part of my memories of Venezuela.

 

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