Nestled in the grounds of the San Ignacio Resort Hotel is an iguana breeding programme. We walked down a path leading to the enclosures. They said they had about 76 in total. They usually have 20 adults and 30 -50 babies. Two of the biggest males were Gizmo and Oscar. The colours of iguanas change in mating season from orange to green. The males can grow up to three metres long and the females only one metre. They have ears that are very sensitive and so are the spines on their back. If they detect a predator above their heads they can free fall from a branch and the spines tell them to stay the right way up. They will always land on their feet. They can survive a fall from a seven storey building. Wow!
In Belize the local people love to eat iguanas and their eggs so the project was to breed new ones and release them into the wild.
Me and lex held our hands out together like a branch and got to hold Gizmo. He was quite heavy. Gizmo was an orange iguana. He had suction dots inside his legs to suck onto the ladies. Down his back he had sensitive spines to help him land upright if he fell. Under his chin he had a hanging fold of skin. He kept swiping the man with his tail. In the centre of head he had a sensor that detects movement and night and day. He had little holes for ears. Gizmo had been fighting as it was breeding season and he had dried up bit of blood around his mouth.
Gizmo was 17 years old and had been there from the start of the project. He is too old to be released but he is the daddy of all the babies. All the other iguanas are released at a certain depending on whether they are male or female. The males get bigger than the females.
Then we went into the baby enclosure. There were about 40 babies in there. Most were about 30 cm long. He put a baby on my hat and then attached six more to my clothes. They had long claws and when they scratched my skin it gave me goosebumps. We stood next to a tree and they climbed off by themselves.