Tag Archives: iguana

If you liked the previous post you will love this one (PG13 – 😬)

In the previous post I showed a few pictures of a boa eating its meal. This short video shows how the boa swallows the last bit of its prey before crawling to its retreat. I took the video with a Canon-EOS-RebelT5. I had to somewhat reduce the quality of the video cause it was way too large to be loaded here.

Enjoy, share, like  and comment.

How and what does a snake in the TCI eat again?

Imagine you want to eat something. Those who are lucky and have easy access to a food source would probably go in the kitchen, open the fridge, get some food and start eating with knife and fork. What happens if you don’t have hands, or limbs? And what if you don’t have access to an easy food source and you have to go out there and hunt down your prey?

Well, things can get a little more complicated in that case.

On Big Ambergris Cay, Turks and Caicos Islands, the rainbow boa (Chilabothrus chrysogaster) has to deal with all of these problems. And yet, it doesn’t seem to be doing too bad. The sequence of images below shows a boa, about 60 cm long, swallowing its prey. In this case the victim is a curly tail lizard (Leiocephalus psammodromus),  but larger boas can eat young and subadult iguanas too. After this pantagruelic meal the little boa will probably crawl in its retreat and digest for the following two weeks.


A male adult iguana was right there when this gruesome show was going on.

What do iguanas and Murphy’s law have in common?

Today was pretty intense here on Little Cayman. After a couple of rainy days and a slow morning, the sun was shining again on Blossom Village and the rest of the island. That was probably the cue for many hatchlings who decided to emerge from their nests.

Jen “Boss” Moss holding five hatchlings that recently emerged.

Why did I mention Murphy’s Law in the title of this post? Well, the funny thing is that up till a couple of days ago the situation seemed relatively calm. We only had a few “rogue” hatchlings running around. Of course at that time we were 5 in the field: Jen, Tanja, David, Anna and I.

The "Welch Lab" crew posing for a lab photo. The lab logo on the t-shirt has been drawn by Chatu, another member of the lab.
The “Welch Lab” crew posing for a lab photo. The lab logo on the t-shirt has been drawn by Chatu, another member of the lab. (From left: David, Anna, Jen, Tanja, Me)

In the last two days we lost Anna and David. I say “we lost”, but nothing dangerous happened to them. They just had to leave because classes are about to start at Mississippi State University.

Long story short, now is only Jen, Tanja and me. And of course all the hatchlings are coming out. Today we  captured and processed 35 babies from multiple nests. We were able to “close” 2 of the enclosures (meaning that we collected all the hatchlings that were expected to come out of those nests). We still have ~20 nests to go and with only 3 people is going to be pretty intense. But we are pretty bad ass, especially the Boss and Tanja, so we will be fine 🙂


Iguana Work on Little Cayman (2)

We finally got a few hatchlings! Not as many as we are expecting to see out of the nests any moment now. Still…we caught a bunch of them in the surrounding of some of our enclosures. A few nests, of curse, have not been marked. It would be impossible to mark all of them. The hatchling from those nests have to come out eventually. When they do and we are around we try to catch them. We also look for emergence holes and make sure that there are no more iguanas inside.

Three processed babies.
Anna is trying to “feel” if there are more baby iguanas in the nest.
A baby iguana chilling on my arm before release.


In case you are wondering how I catch iguanas…

One of the question I get the most is: “Ok, but how do you actually capture an iguana to do all the analyses that you do?” Well, that is a wonderful question. And I think the best way to answer is to show you a little clip that I made with a head-mounted camera during one of my field trip in the Bahamas.

(The size of the video is pretty big so it might take a little to load completely. Comment below if it is obnoxiously slow and I will try and upload a lighter version or use a different player.)