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Trip Report: Blue Iguanas on Grand Cayman Island

Discussion in 'Herp Awareness' started by SurvivorSteph, Jun 8, 2008.

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  1. SurvivorSteph

    SurvivorSteph Subscribed User Premium Member

    I'm home from Grand Cayman, and have recovered sufficently to post about my trip. :)

    The moment we stepped off the plane, we could hardly breathe! It was so hot and humid the entire first week we felt dirty and sweaty the entire time... unless we were swimming. But thanks to tropical storm Arthur passing the Yucatan Peninsula/Belize area, we cooled substantially during week two. In fact, week two was pretty rainy... still warm, but rainy.

    Our duties mostly included feeding, watering, and collecting food. I helped hold down two full-grown males, Archie and Billy, for their final medical treatments after the incident in early May. I got the head, and Peter (from Maine) got the tail. Archie was pretty easy, I basically just walked up to him, grabbed his neck, and held. Billy was another story... He outweighs Archie by about 7 pounds and was QUITE intimidating! Plus he definitely didn't want to be restrained. He basically led Peter and I on a meandering goose-chase. I didn't want to get him too stressed, so I had Peter net him which made it easier for me to get a hold of him. Both big boys received sub-q fluids, antibiotics, and a vitamin injection; Billy also got stitches removed. It was quite an honor to be hands-on with their recovery.

    Just before we arrived, Peter had helped excavate several nests. There were still a few females that needed to lay eggs, and two of them kept test-digging. For days we watered soil to help make conditions perfect. Finally about 5 days into our trip (when the weather started to change), both girls laid their eggs. Peter and a local volunteer dug up Timmy's nest while John, Mom and I dug up Red, Pale-Blue's nest. We excavated a total of 24 eggs, with 2 being non-viable. How awesome it was to hold the most precious egg on earth!

    The second week was a breeze because of the rain... it stays fairly warm, but doesn't get hot enough for the Blues to actively feed. We fed the babies twice that entire week, and left the adults to graze in their enclosures. Although we did offer fruit to some of the more active adults.

    They love papaya, mango, and a fruit called noni. Now I cannot smell anything, but they told me that noni smells like a mixture of rotten eggs and dirty catbox... yummy!!! In any case, the Blues LOVE it. It's practically a drug!!

    The week that we actively fed, we would go to different parts of the island to collect food. Each day we tried to collect 3-4 different items. Some of what we collected were: morning glory, slavola, yellow root, hibiscus flowers, and several smaller plants that I can't remember the names. What I found interesting is that much of their diet is toxic to mammals. John, the Warden, believes that's a contributor to their strong immune systems.

    One day we collected a special treat for the females that were post-gravid. This treat is the larva of the Hawk Moth, and OMG, are they HUGE. These caterpillars were probably 6-8 inches long. The igs LOVED them! One female had a ripe noni and a caterpillar in front of her, and she chose the caterpillar!

    Now I have to say that as pet owners, we don't feed our iguanas ANY animal protein... and that's the best course of action for us; however, these animals are living in their native region, eating a native diet, and getting the proper temps and lighting. They are better equipped to handle such a treat than any captive iguana ever would be.

    This is something that I'm so glad to have experienced... and it won't be my last trip, either! :)

    Our complimentary accommodations
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    The view from our patio
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    Ganges rose, please??
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    me too!
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    Iz starvin'
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  2. SurvivorSteph

    SurvivorSteph Subscribed User Premium Member

    Re: Trip Report: Blue Iguanas on Grand Cayman Isla

    I'm workin' here!
    [​IMG]

    Zarko guarding the noni tree
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    work, work, work
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    Escape... you're doin' it wrong
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    Me n Mom with the big blue statue @ the QEII Botanic Park
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    Takin' out Billy's stitches
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    The photographer misinterpreted, "take a picture of me holding down Billy." :rolleyes: I wanted Billy too. ;)
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    Workin' hard
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    Almost finished (Timmy)
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    I hidz teh nest from da hoomans
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    Debra
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    Shhh...
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    Ryan sez: Mangoz iz uber nom!
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    Diggin'
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    Findin'
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    neener, neener, neener, we found your nest!
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    11 good eggs, 2 duds
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    RAWR! Get away from my nest!!!
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    Smile if you love noni!
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    big, fat, lazy... so what's the problem?
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    bucket 'o bugs
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    nom, nom, nom
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    peek-a-boo
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    I iz CUBAN u cannot take me to USA... duh!!
    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
     
  3. nicole

    nicole Elite Member

    Re: Trip Report: Blue Iguanas on Grand Cayman Isla

    I am so jealous! It looks like you had a great time! The pics are beautiful!
     
  4. Moshpitrockchick

    Moshpitrockchick Subscribed User Premium Member

    Re: Trip Report: Blue Iguanas on Grand Cayman Isla

    Wow Steph, looks like a blast! Great pictures too!

    I got the post card yesterday, I think it was delayed because the apartment number got scratched off.
     
  5. prismwolf

    prismwolf Well Established Member

    Re: Trip Report: Blue Iguanas on Grand Cayman Isla

    I'm soooo jealous, too!! What a trip to remember!! When are you going back?
     
  6. DarkMagician207

    DarkMagician207 Elite Member

    Re: Trip Report: Blue Iguanas on Grand Cayman Isla

    Awesome pics! Thanks for sharing. :) Those bugs are huge!!
     
  7. kenman1963

    kenman1963 Moderator

    Re: Trip Report: Blue Iguanas on Grand Cayman Isla

    That's an incredible experience Steph! I got your postcard, Thanks! my grandson has adopted it as his own. I only wish I could have been there with you to experience that.
     
  8. SurvivorSteph

    SurvivorSteph Subscribed User Premium Member

    Re: Trip Report: Blue Iguanas on Grand Cayman Isla

    I hope to make it an annual trip... hopefully finances, work, etc. will align. Or I could just win the lottery and move there. ;)
     
  9. ryanpb

    ryanpb Elite Member

    Re: Trip Report: Blue Iguanas on Grand Cayman Isla

    I'll have to agree, I'm quite jealous. Did you get a chance to do any SCUBA or Snorkeling while you were there?
     
  10. SurvivorSteph

    SurvivorSteph Subscribed User Premium Member

    Re: Trip Report: Blue Iguanas on Grand Cayman Isla

    I did snorkel... a bit. The water was pretty active because of the tropical storm being close by. BUT I now have gear for NEXT TIME! :)
     
  11. fire2225ems

    fire2225ems Subscribed User Premium Member

    Re: Trip Report: Blue Iguanas on Grand Cayman Isla

    That looks like it would be such an incredible experience! And I see you just HAD to include a couple of pictures of frogs... ;) They are all great pictures.
     
  12. The D

    The D Mango Empress

    Re: Trip Report: Blue Iguanas on Grand Cayman Isla

    Oh cool! I'm so jealous... what an amazing experience!
     
  13. BlackJack

    BlackJack Subscribed User Premium Member

    Re: Trip Report: Blue Iguanas on Grand Cayman Isla

    The postcard made it to Switzerland! What a nice surprise, thanks! (It's on the fridge.)
    The trip sounds great; I hope you will be able to make it an annual thing.
    The pics are wonderful. :)
     
  14. schlegelbagel

    schlegelbagel Frog Lover Premium Member

    Re: Trip Report: Blue Iguanas on Grand Cayman Isla

    Out of all the photos, i like the frog peering over the balcony the best. ;)
     
  15. SurvivorSteph

    SurvivorSteph Subscribed User Premium Member

    Re: Trip Report: Blue Iguanas on Grand Cayman Isla

    seriously? :p
     
  16. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Re: Trip Report: Blue Iguanas on Grand Cayman Isla

    Well it IS LIZ after all!;)
     
  17. Typhanie

    Typhanie Elite Member

    Re: Trip Report: Blue Iguanas on Grand Cayman Isla

    What beautiful iguanas. What a great trip!
     
  18. kcftlaud08

    kcftlaud08 Elite Member

    Re: Trip Report: Blue Iguanas on Grand Cayman Isla

    Awesome pictures. What beautiful creatures! It looks like you scored a hat trick: beautiful location, incredible iguanas and you had fun doing good work! Triple play. I hope you get to go again soon. :)
     
  19. Critter's mom

    Critter's mom Elite Member

    Re: Trip Report: Blue Iguanas on Grand Cayman Isla

    Really? Morning glory? Is it the same morning glory that we have growing in abundance here in the pacific northwest? Because it would be really great news if our iguanas could eat that!!!
     
  20. caudalis_sa

    caudalis_sa Elite Member

    Re: Trip Report: Blue Iguanas on Grand Cayman Isla

    great trip report!! great pics!!!! great time too i see!!

    glad you had a blast! those igs are huge!!!! awesome!!!
     
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