Recent incidents of Blacktip Island’s rock iguanas flying into moving vehicles and across crowded bars has island resident on edge this week. (photo courtesy of Jimi World)
A spate of incidents involving airborne iguanas on Blacktip Island has created health and safety worries among the small Caribbean island’s residents, authorities said Thursday.
“People are reporting iguanas flying through the air at bars, at resorts and on both roadways,” Island Police Constable Rafe Marquette said. “Several motorists were struck when iguanas sailed through open car windows while the autos were in motion. There’s been at least two wrecks because of that.
“It seems to be the smaller iguanas involved, thankfully,” Marquette said. “Any of the large ones hit anyone, that’d cause major injuries. We’re looking into the causes, and whether they’re actually flying or just vigorously jumping.”
Island residents confirmed the reports.
“This ain’t just iguanas falling out of trees, like you hear about in Florida,” Harry Blenny said. “I never seen one take off, so I can’t say if it’s flight or a big jump. But one cleared the bar at the Ballyhoo a couple of days ago. Smack in the middle of happy hour, so there’s plenty of witnesses.”
Local scientists were puzzled by the new behavior.
“There’s no wings, or added skin flaps to help them glide,” Tiperon University-Blacktip biology professor Lucille Ray said. “All specimens involved are just bog-standard iguanas. But they’re traveling considerable distances. We’re busy examining why they’ve changed their behavior so drastically and so suddenly.”
Other residents focused on the possibility the iguanas had help flying.
“Every time one of them iguanas flies through the air, Dermott Bottoms and James Conlee’re somewhere close by,” Rocky Shore said. “Once or twice is a coincidence, but every time? Dermott and James were the first ones to notice it happening, too. Me? I smell a rat. Or iguana, rather. I think Dermott’s flinging them.”
Bottoms denied the accusation.
“I never threw no iguana at anything. Or anyone,” he said. “Every time something odd happens on this island, I get blamed. It’s not right. And anyway, anybody tried to catch and throw iguanas, even small ones, they’d get the hell scratched out of their arms.
“Them things’re tougher than they look,” Bottoms said. “I had to drag one out from under the house last week, and it liked to’ve torn me up. It is funny, though, watching folks trying to keep their cars on the road with pissed off iguanas thrashing in the front seat.”
Marquette said he was taking the accusations against Bottoms seriously.
“If people—anyone—is throwing iguanas, that’s animal cruelty and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” he said. “Dermot says the scratches on his arms are from working in the bush, but I’m having the nurse confirm that.
“I have my eye on Dermott. And James. If they’re responsible for this, they will be apprehended. If not, well, I’ll have to find out what’s scaring the hell out of all these lizards. It may be the mersquatch.”