One of the things that Mary and I enjoy most about our home here in San Clemente is taking time out to sit and rest on the upstairs balcony. In the morning we sit and listen to the birds greet the day and in the evening we watch the sky turn orange and purple as the sun sets over the Pacific. Mary often sits on that balcony to read during the day.
Today I got home from running errands and went out to visit with Mary on that balcony where she was reading. As we were talking I looked up and noticed a large iguana coming across the planter by our parking area. Mary and I watched as this iguana easily stepped down the two and a half foot drop to the yard area and walked over to the volleyball court area.
We have seen iguanas from that vantage point before, but they generally are racing across the yard.
One time we saw a rather large iguana being harassed by a mockingbird. The mockingbird kept cawing and swooping down and pecking at the iguana. Even though the iguana was much larger than the bird, the iguana was racing away trying to avoid the mockingbird’s repeated dive-bombing attacks.
We watched the two race along the back fence line until the iguana got to cover. We wished we had our cameras for photos or, better yet, a video of that scene!
So today when we saw the iguana, I hurried downstairs and back to see if I could get some pictures of this beauty. No mockingbird was chasing this monster and he did not seem to be the type that would run from a bird anyway, so when I got back upstairs he was still basking in the sun.
(After the iguana left, I went down with my tape measure to show some perspective on the size of this iguana. I laid the tape out locked at five feet in the same spot the iguana was sitting in the above picture.)
You can see that this iguana was close to five feet long!
I took lots of pictures from above on the balcony, but since he showed no signs of leaving in a hurry, I decided to head on outside to get closer for more detailed shots.
He let me get fairly close and I got these photos from ground level.
The big guy was watching me closely, but he was not upset or showing any signs of aggression.
But… Our caretaker has a small cat named Miel who decided to come over and see what was attracting our attention.
An iguana this size has no need to fear a small cat, so it did not run. As Miel got closer the iguana started showing signs of aggression. He first stood up tall on all of his feet and arched his back up to show his size.
Miel is more curious than she should be at times and continued to creep toward the iguana. The iguana lifted his feet up and exposed his claws, one foot at a time. He also began to swing his long tail back and forth and puffed up the loose skin on his neck!
He turned to face Miel and took one step toward her. Miel decided that she wanted no part of this battle and beat a hasty retreat.
This is what an iguana looks like when he is ready to fight.
After Miel left I decided to push my luck and get as close as I could for detailed pictures. I got to within about 10 feet when the big guy started the flared throat – arched back – foot raising thing in my direction!
He fixed an angry eye on me and showed me his fighting face.
I did not think he would charge me, but I decided that if he did, my aged body would not be able to move quickly enough, so…
I took a lesson from little Miel and retreated back to the house to let this big beauty go about his day in peace here where…
Life is good in Ecuador!