Passing thoughts of an animal handler: Iguanas

Good morning once again readers. I trust you are well.
My next set of posts will look at the colorful variety of animals that I (Dave) have had the chance to handle lately (or more to the point, the list of animals that have recently bitten, clawed, rendered or otherwise tried to kill me). Working at the Iguana station is a very hands on job, I mean would you really expect us volunteers to sit around drinking coffee while enjoying the view of the lovely animals? Heck no! The last week has been especially interesting for me, I’ve been summon to rescue several volunteers for the big bad Curly Haired Tarantulas that frequently make a new home in the station, I’ve been chomped on by a Pink Boa and made a daring rescue in the Parrot cage.
Just to remind you all ladies and gents, these animals may be in captivity, but they are still wild at heart, and are more then happy to defend themselves. Today I will be assessing my recent contact with the Iguanas. So within the last week I’ve ‘de-ticked’ Howard, our large handicapped Green Iguana (and believe me when I say this was NOT one for the ladies, those ticks get everywhere…) He put up a good struggle for an older guy, his tail is strong as ever, I took a few nasty tail swipes off him. However he can breath a temporary sigh of relief, his ticks are gone and we can leave him be for now, until the imminent tick invasion starts anew.
I also had quite a hair-raising situation early last week, while giving a tour I spotted a juvenile Swamper basking quite happily in the sun, thankfully it was in a cage, just not its own. Nope, the little sod had escaped and crawled into the Parrot’s cage. Even if more volunteers were around I think few of them would lack the common sense to venture into the cage to rescue it.
“Looks like its up to me then” I thought, I was a little weary of entering the cage with a tour group watching, I was worried this would agitate the Parrots, which needless to say I wanted to avoid for the safety of my face. Ramon, the male Parrot had attacked me a few days earlier while I was feeding them, I saw the gleam in the little devil’s eyes as he dive bombed straight into my shoulder. I entered the cage, Ramon was up high and tucked out of the way (or so I hoped), Rosalita was happy trying to tear the fingers off of my tour group. It seemed ideal, I was behind the Swamper, the Parrots were distracted, I slowly crept up to make a grab. I was just about to make a grab on the juvenile when Rosie saw fit to charge right at me. She had previously been on the ground, so my movements must have stirred her, as she ran towards me she ran right over the Swamper, I half expected her to attack it, but she seemed content to try and have a go at my toes. Time was up, it was now or never, one sneaky side-step allowed me to dodge Rosie, and grab the Swamper who had barely moved an inch the entire time. My right hand closed around its back legs, my left hand went to clamp its mouth shut, the little critter had other ideas though. It struck, sinking its jagged little teeth into my index finger. My thought pattern at that present moment was something along the lines of;
“Here I am saving your life and risking my toes / other appendages against these cute but feral Parrots and YOU have the cheek to bite me?” It is fair to say I was not brilliant amused by this gesture. Thankfully I didn’t flinch, otherwise I’d have been stripped of allot more finger flesh, but instead carried on, sidestepping another ‘affectionate’ peck from Rosie and darting out the cage before Ramon saw a chance to get another dive bomb in, all the while the Swamper was happy to keep its teeth firmly buried in my bleeding finger. Needless to say that was one additional bonus of that particular tour… You will be pleased to hear that the Swamper was reunited with friends and family later that afternoon. My finger alas, was not to be reunited with its freshly missing flesh.

(Alas the only pictures of my flesh being rendered are on tourist’s cameras, I’m sorry to disappoint).


~ by iguana321 on July 21, 2011.

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