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
Iguanas are part of my memories of