Tag Archives: caribbean iguanas

Iguana Destroys Mail In Blacktip Island’s Post Office

iguana in PO

A photo of the iguana Blacktip Island officials suspect of destroying the small Caribbean island’s postal facilities Wednesday night/Thursday morning. (photo courtesy of James St. John)


 

A stray rock iguana in the Blacktip Island post office overnight has disrupted mail delivery on the small Caribbean island for the foreseeable future, island postal officials said Thursday.

“When I came in this morning, it looked like a hurricane’d been through the place,” island postmaster Dervil Haynes said. “A hurricane with claws, mind you. There was cards and letters all over, and parcels all shredded. Incoming bills, outgoing payments, you name it, it’s all torn to hell.

“Near as I can tell, somebody jimmied the lock after hours and chucked the thing in,” Haynes said. “The door was unlocked when I got here in the morning, and that didn’t just happen by itself. And an iguana didn’t just let itself in. This is vandalism, plain and simple.”

Island officials confirmed the post office will be out of service for at least a week.

“They’re still sorting sorting out what was damaged and trying to put things back together,” island mayor Jack Cobia said. “Dervil had to order a case of cellophane tape to patch up all the letters and whatnot—he bought all the island store had, and that barely put a dent in the damage.

“Everything in there was clawed up, including the walls and windows,” Cobia said. “That lizard really wanted out. It’ll be at least a week before the place’ll be functional again. We’re in the process of trying to explain it to creditors and insurance people. And installing some sort of iguana-proof devices on the doors.”

Some residents questioned Haynes’ story.

“Ol’ Dervil always leaves the back door open when he goes out for a pee,” Catalina Luxfer said. “He’s forgetful like that, and getting worse. It’s a whole lot more likely the iguana wandered in while he stepped out, Dervil didn’t notice and shut the thing inside at the end of the day.

“The morning sun coming through the windows probably woke it up,” Luxfer said. “Then it freaked when it couldn’t get out. I can see why Dervil doesn’t want to admit that, but in the meantime, I got birthday presents in tatters, and no way to tell when I’ll be able to get them.”

Others saw the occurrence in a more positive light.

“We been talking about going to paperless billing for years,” Cori Anders said. “This is a great example of why we should. Now, it wouldn’t have stopped the parcels from being damaged, but bill-wise, we’d be in a lot less of a mess. This iguana was a wakeup call.”

Island authorities say the iguana was gone on arrival and has not yet been apprehended.

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Iguana/Crab Races Debut On Blacktip Island

iguana races

A group of racing enthusiasts this week launched an iguana-and-land-crab racing league to help bolster their incomes. (photo courtesy of Kitty Terwolbeck)

 

In an effort to boost income while tourism is shut down due to COVID border closures, Blacktip Island sporting enthusiasts this week launched an iguana-and-land-crab racing league they hope to market to subscribers worldwide.

“It has everything: it’s a competition, it’s unique and people love a good race,” Rocky Shore said. “Clete Horn’s the one who came up with the idea of having those little, red, baby land crabs ride as jockeys on some of our island iguanas. It’s the novelty of the thing that’ll get folks to subscribe.

“The trick is to piss off the little crabs so they’ll clamp their claws down on an iguana’s back spike,” Shore said. “It’s a tricky balance—you don’t get the crab mad enough, it’ll let go mid-race and you’re disqualified; get it too pissed, it’ll turn on you and give you a nasty pinch.”

Animal rights activists say the races are blatant animal abuse.

“This is not some new sport. It’s textbook animal cruelty,” People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals president Harry Pickett said. “They abuse the crabs to get them to clutch the iguanas, then they abuse the iguanas by sticking the crabs on them. Neither crabs nor iguanas asked for this, and all would run away from it if they could.

“There’s no upside,” Pickett said. “There’s no mitigating factors. Quite the opposite. This is a horrific act, all for money and twisted entertainment. At the animals’ expense.”

Some on the small tropical island disagreed.

“Harry and his gang need to lighten up,” Goldie Goby said. “It’s just good fun, and the crabs and iguanas seem to enjoy it. They’re fine afterwards, and there’s no shortage of either on the island.

“You should see those iguanas tearing down the track, with little red crabs hanging on for dear life,” Goby said. “‘Tonio Fletcher’s got a couple of bad-ass iguanas that are beating all comers. No telling what he’s feeding them but they go like scalded . . . well, scalded iguanas.”

Organizers say proceeds have been minimal thus far.

“We’ve put a few races on YouTube to attract attention, build the interest, but we haven’t sold any subscriptions just yet,” Clete Horn said. “But all it takes is that one person seeing it and passing on the word, and we’ll be golden. We’ve got a long way to go, but we’re nearly there.”

Island authorities have warned locals against betting on the races.

“As fun as these races are, gambling is still illegal,” Island Police Constable Rafe Marquette said. “I’ve posted notices, and talked to all the parties involved, warning I will arrest anyone caught placing wagers. I gave ‘Tonio a second, sterner talking-to yesterday when he brought me my winnings.”

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