The Iguanas of the Keys

Photo by milan.boersIt was a long drive across Florida to reach Key Largo, and we pulled into a shaded grove at the Pennekamp State Park. But the campsites themselves were sparse, close together and with trees in the back.

When we arrived, I was tired, hot and sticky. Still we put up the camper, and I was thinking about getting into the coolness of our AC.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw something orange and black go up a tree trunk. My first thought was, “snake.” Then, “coral snake”. Then “oh-my-gods-we’re-surrounded-by-poisonous-snakes.” I retreated to the road promptly and told my husband there was a snake in the tree. A really long snake.

He went back to look.

Turns out, it wasn’t a snake. It was a three foot long iguana.

Who, thankfully, didn’t want to be near us any more than we wanted to be near him, and he kept climbing.

One of our neighbors in the campsite told us they were called “Miami squirrels” and we would see them all over the Keys.

I did see them all over the Keys, but husband and daughter never managed to see them as well.

Driving to and from Key West, the iguanas were sitting on the roadsides, or walking slowing along. They blend in with the scenery for the most part, although I did see one with a vibrant blue head at one point. (Hubby saw that one too). Things he thought were sticks were actually lizards.

In all the time we were in Florida, we saw no gators. But the Keys teem with their own brand of reptile.

Photo by milan.boers


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