“I” Iguanas by Jan Darling

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CURIOUS COLLECTIVES   NO. 8

I IGUANAS

If you’re after a pet that’s canny and clue-y

Eager to learn and not all that Zoo-y

And you have the right ‘temps’ to keep your pet cosy

With a sun-baking place where it can be dozy

Iguana’s the guy to share your affection

Always obliging, they make good connection.

 

He’s not like a chameleon, not at all like him,

He’ll only change colour when things get grim.

Living wild, under stress he can change his shade,

Or in breeding season, to make the grade,

You’ll notice he changes while basking in sun

But he’ll never change colour if it’s only for fun.

 

In general, Iguana’s the best reptile pet

He’s surely the smartest a reptile can get

He’s docile, adaptive, found all kinds of places

Tropic forests, arid deserts, even watery bases.

If you keep him at home you must mimic his weather

It’s the way to be happy, to get on together.

 

Before we go further I want you to know

I think his Collective’s a really low blow –

You may share my horror (and I think you oughta)

That a group of Iguanas is called a Slaughter!

A Slaughter, indeed, a ridiculous thought

They’re lovable guys, each one a good sport.

 

Thirty-five different kinds of this lovable creature

Offer their friendship to student or teacher

In a range of colours that dazzle and stun

In various sizes – all of them fun.

Length starts at one hundred – *cms that’s to say

Ends at one seven zero – head to tail, all the way.

 

This biggie’s Grand Cayman, the king of them all

He’s the heaviest, too, and to keep you in thrall,

His natural blue makes him special and rare

It’s a hue that very few animals share.

In the mornings he snoozes and basks in the heat

And on waking he needs to voraciously eat.

 

What singular gifts your Iguana does offer!

Recognising your family, his friendship he’ll proffer

His memory is great for learning and faces

You’ll train him to eat and sleep in new places

He’ll learn toileting too, if you train him to time

He responds to the rules and leaves you no grime.

 

In the wild the Iguanas will play, work and rest

They’re cooperative planners, some of the best,

They care for their families, their friends and their siblings

And take on these tasks without any quibblings.

Problem-solving’s a skill they’ve learned on their own

It helps them succeed and ‘stay in the zone’.

 

The female will burrow a nest with her legs

And once it is ready she’ll there lay her eggs

She covers them over, hoping they’ll hatch

Then she makes off, leaving the batch!

Some four months later, the hatchlings are thrown

Into the world to survive all alone!

 

At three years of age young Iguanas are ready

To find their own friends and start to act steady

A successful Iguana can live sixty years

If it can survive the **“below 50” fears

For if caught in the cold and canopy bound

It may lose its grip and fall to the ground.

*centimetres, pronounced here ‘see ems’

** At 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius) the Iguana starts to become paralysed by the cold as muscles begin to close down and if high in the canopy, may fall to the ground.  Such falls usually don’t cause death.   Forest Iguanas spend much of their lives in the canopy, only descending to mate, lay eggs or change trees.

Notes:

What is the Collective Noun for Iguanas?

How many different kinds are there?

What average length is the smallest Iguana?

What average length is the Grand Cayman Iguana?

What do Iguanas have in common with Chameleons?

What colour is the Grand Cayman Iguana?

Is this unusual for Iguanas or unusual for all animals?

What is the incubation time for the Iguana egg?   Explain incubation.

Does the female Iguana sit on her nest?

Discuss Imperial and Metric measures.

Information not included in verses:

Iguanas make very little sound either alone or together.  They occasionally make sneezing or snorting noises.

The tail is usually about half the length of the body.

The tail is used for balancing when climbing or fighting.  It is spiky and can inflict pain and cause wounding.   

When held by the tail, the Iguana can shed it and later will grow a new one.  As on ordinary lizards, you can see how many times the tail has been regrown by the rings showing on the tail.

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