Many homeowners have security systems to protect the premises. There are many choices: Ring, ADT, Vivint, etc., all of which involve people.
My security system involves reptiles. I have free roaming tortoises that are adept at tripping. They utilize the carpets that camouflage them well. Yes, even I have face-planted! I also have large roaming lizards with razor sharp teeth and an intense dislike of people they don’t know.
Recently, I discovered that the household reptiles have recruited some of the locals to participate in guarding the house.
This Desert Spiny Lizard,Sceloporus magister, is doing surveillance from the front door. From her spot, she can watch the front of the house and the road. She seems to be doing a good job.
I am an author of both children’s and adult science books, inspired to write about the world of reptiles. I am as ‘at-home’ with reptiles as I am with mammals–perhaps even more so. And I tend to look after the underdogs.
So, when Stella, a green iguana, was found on a street in Bethlehem, PA, with her tail badly chewed, I took an interest in her. The veterinarian thought it was done by dogs, possibly pit bulls owned by drug dealers. Her rescuers had to amputate most of her gorgeous four-foot tail.
Stella was full-sized, uncommon for captive green iguanas. Apparently, she had been cared for up until she was separated from her family. Once she had sufficiently healed from her surgery, they sent her to my rescue center in Highbridge, New Jersey. Her health returned, and she soon moved to her forever home with me.
injuries, she produced eggs after her arrival. She also tried to regenerate her
tail, but the stump had been sewn shut.
She likes to hang
out with her buddy, Ezra, another green iguana who lives in a nearby separate
enclosure. Ezra likes to stand on his rear legs and show off for Stella every
now and then. They’re very attentive to each other.
developed high blood pressure, as evidenced by a swollen nictitating membrane. It is kept under control with
She is a
sweet-natured iguana, and it is my pleasure to have her as a pet in my home.
Ever since I operated a reptile rescue center, I’ve had a good number of iguanas. Over ninety percent of newly purchased iguanas die within the first year, so their good health is very important to me. Fresh vegetables and fruits are important to their survival.
I use a potato
peeler to make long slices of zucchini and carrots and chop the other veggies
into small pieces.
Here is a list of basic vegetable and fruits and the special treats that can be given on an occasional basis.
Their basic salad
in the morning includes Collard Greens, Red Bell Peppers, Zucchini, Carrots,
and Bananas or Grapes.
To learn more about these fascinating big lizards, see the 30-page downloadable Supplemental Workbook, My Unit Study on Iguanas at Lyric Power Publishing, LLC.
We were visited by Elaine Powers, the author who donated a stack of her picture book Don’t Make Me Fly, which presents facts about one of Arizona’s most iconic birds – the roadrunner. Along with writing picture books about animals native to southern Arizona, she’s a conservationist and retired biologist. Elaine brought several rescued friends: turtles and tortoises of varying sizes, including a 100-pound tortoise named Duke who roamed the Lab. She also brought Blue, a five-foot blue iguana (who broke out of his box to say hi), and Krinkle, a three-foot spiny iguana who was saved and bears a deformed body. The students learned ecology, biology, the importance of conservation, proper animal care, and the steps needed to map out a story.
Students who are normally silent and impassive came alive as they held reptiles and learned in a way that videos and lectures could never emulate. One student in particular, who rarely smiles, sat for nearly half an hour with a grin as Krinkle was content to nap in his arms.
The LEARN literacy program is growing and evolving, and the effects are tangible. Through it all, with the correct books, students feel validated, seen, and know that their lives and experiences matter. It increases their comfort and trust in our program and allows them to open up and learn in a way they haven’t before. These days, if you ask a South LEARN student about their favorite book, you just might get an answer. And, though they may not realize it, they’re a step further from that jail cell.
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