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.