Friday, June 1, 2007


On my daily walks around Brickell Key, I pass by a beautiful bougainvillea bush. I am surprised there are not more of them in Miami. They flower all year round and come in a rainbow of colors. This one is specially big and covered with blooms. There are usually several people looking at it. NO, is not a rare kind or even an unusual in color. I have seen bigger and lusher and with more flowers in Curacao. This one is home to a whole family of......iguanas!

The biggest one is a dark green and must be a male, they always grow bigger. Several dowdy females and bright green babies move about and seem unafraid. Sunning themselves on the branches hanging close to the water, eating the tender new leaves or the red flowers, these creatures seem perfectly at home. Big difference from the ones in Curaçao that know they should hide when humans approach or become lunch! They are an endangered species back home; people hunt them for...... YES, food.

How did they get here? I don't think they are indigenous of these parts, much less of this small man-made island..... pets let loose when their owners didn't know what to feed them or lost interest in the exotic creatures? Who knows. The fact is that they are attracting more interest than anything else on the small island. People stare, take pictures; parents take their children to watch them and they bring lettuce and pieces of fruits to feed them. Of course nobody gets too close, they look intimidating, and very unfriendly!

Since hurricane season is starting tomorrow, I am beginning to wonder: how would they survive the hurricane season in that bougainvillea bush so close to the water? There is not many trees or bushes around there to run to when wind and rain hit. Back home no matter how hard it rains, it clears rapidly and the sun beats down again. There are no high winds, no hurricanes. The landscape, more Arizona than Hawaii, is ideal for reptiles. Of course there are iguanas in many places in the Tropics, not only on the islands. These ones could be their descendants.

Now, like many other immigrants that have come to Miami, they have adapted and thrived , but keeping to some of their traditions. After all they live in extended families, eat their native food (the bougainvillea bush), stick together in their own neighborhoods and have learned to take advantage of what is offered in their new home.

1 comment:

islandfever104 said...

I remember rescueing an igauna in my sailboat, only to have the locals want to cook it when I let it go on shore
I sure do hope that it lived happily ever after and did not become the famous igauna soup