Oh. I answered the wrong question.
Posted by Roger on 5/31/2016, 2:15 pm, in reply to "Re: Taming Iguanas in St Thomas"
This is long, which is all too typical for me. But please don't skip it. It has info you can use for years. I can explain the steps of ritualistic taming which worked for many of my rescues. |
I didn't read your message right. I thought you wanted to work on increasing the population of iguanas on St. Thomas.
Brian is right. But do you know you can quickly learn to tame iguanas yourself, and then you will be able to teach other people how to do it.
It's not difficult or complicated, and it's easy to explain, and every untame or traumatized iguana is tamed the exact same way. The entire explanation needs about one page of #12 print. Feel free to ask me for that. I am always ready to communicate about reptiles.
I have to say that not every wild or traumatized captive will allow itself to be tamed, no matter how many years you keep up with the taming rituals. Those here in the US become unhandled display animals. Where you live, they would be released into the wild. Released captives in southern Florida do survive and thrive because of the climate there. With wild-caught adults, I would expect about a 30% or lower success rate with taming. Some of them will turn into loving pussycats who come to you on their own, wanting bits of banana or to be petted, or seeking protection behind you when someone knocks on the door. When you get one like that, it's pure gold and will make all the work worthwhile.
There is a small but proven percentage of weeks-olds who are naturally tame. Henry Lizardlover uses that to select naturally calm iguanas. He gets one or two dozen baby igs and spreads them out on a comfortable floor. He watches them closely, and is able to see the calm behavior of the ones who don't flee at his approach and outstretched arm, and the nervous ones who bite the other babies or dash around frantically. Henry posted his method, and I have it nearly verbatam. He gets a lot of criticism from the way he poses them, but he says his igs are naturally inclined to hold poses for pictures.
Wild-caught iguanas are a special challenge. They need up to a year of patient, consistent taming rituals before they quit trying to slash you. They are more extremely strong than you would ever expect, and have very sharp teeth that are made for biting off pieces of tough vegetation. With an adult, it can slash open leather gloves. I used woven Kevlar gloves and sleeves, which the igs can't slice open. They are born with the trait of skilled fighting, which in the wild is part of the harem gathering process. We see year-long ultimately successful taming from our members here at this forum.
BTW, the baby iguanas in our pet stores for so cheap, are wild, with nearly zero human handling experience. The babies are so small they can't hurt anybody, but they do all the same fighting moves that adult igs do.
If you could figure out how to find iguana nests and get tiny iguanas fresh out of the egg, your success ratio will be much higher. If you could live-catch very small iguanas who are already out of the egg, that will also give you a much higher success rate. But with any wild iguana, even very tiny ones, who have roamed free and wild will be much harder to tame. You could train yourself to spot gravid (pregnant) females (males and females look almost exactly alike). They are obviously very plump in the abdomen zone. So at that time of year, they look different than males and non-gravid females. In my experience with Wild Caugt local lizards and snakes: They will captive-lay in a very quiet and sedate habitat. I've had a few wild reptiles lay eggs in the habitat while they were temporarily captives of mine, and I incubated the eggs, which is very easy. One laid her eggs between the layers of newspaper on the hab's floor. The eggshell is flexible and leather-like, and are not killed by mere handling. I've only had one egg that failed to hatch. Every hatchling hated my guts right out of the shell and during their first week or three.
Here on the message board, BillyBob and I can explain the very simple method of live-catching.
I hope I didn't make this so long that you skip it.