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Today I thought I would introduce you to my girls. Smirnoff is 16 years old, Jose Cuervo is 14.
Smirnoff has been with me almost all her little lizard life. My brother's girlfriend (back in high school) got her and had her a short time before she decided she was creepy. Poor baby...she's not creepy - she's my sweet pea! She's spoiled...very spoiled. Some times we will feed her and just put a plate of food in her cage. Sometimes she will look at it, look at you, look at the food, look at you...this means "hand feed me". She will lay outside on the screened porch just watching the garden for as long as you'll leave her there. She doesn't like strangers. She hates dogs. She loves red hibiscus flowers, collard greens, squash and sweet potatoes.
She loves a pillow. Here she found her way into my bed to take a nap.
Jose Cuervo - not very girly eh? She was almost 2 when I got her. I used to have an iguana website and I got an email from a girl up in New Hampshire - she was going to boarding school and her parents said get rid of the lizard. She asked if I would take "him". This was in July, she said "he" would be 2 in October. I assumed they were sure he was a he - after all, HE was almost 2. Smirnoff laid eggs before she was 2...if Jose was a girl, she would have as well. Surprise surprise...Jose Cuervo was shipped overnight via FedEx and when the box was opened, she was tiny. Tiny like the size you see at the pet store. Hard to believe that she was 1, let alone nearly 2. I was pretty sure that she wouldn't be with us long. When you tried to pick her up she would lean away from you until she fell over rather than run away. I didn't even bother to set up a cage for her, I just outfitted her with a large box and put her in my office away from Smirnoff and Captain Morgan (Captain Morgan crossed the Rainbow Bridge several years ago) in case she had some sort of disease or whatever. A few weeks passed and she was still here. One day my husband called me and said "the lizard got out" Evidently nursed back to health enough to escape the box! At that point, she got a cage. We rushed her to the vet a year or so later because she didn't look right. Come to find out, she was about to lay her first eggs. He...was a She. Who knew? Needless to say she's a little stunted in her growth and frankly she's special (bless her heart). Not the sharpest tool in the shed...but she's sweet and we adore her and her quirky personality.
Yes...they have distinct personalities and they can be trained. Not a lot, but they can be. I've narrowed it down to knowing 3 "tricks" if you teach them a 4th trick, #1 goes out the window. All 3 of my iguanas are (were) litter box trained. They will only go potty in their cages if there is no other option. And then they will sulk. It's not pretty.
Here's Jose Cuervo hanging out on the screened porch. She likes to be UP. We had a double bike rack mounted out there and she's on the seat of the top mounted bike - near the ceiling.
Here she is on her sleeping shelf.
And here she is posing for our Christmas card a few years ago.
She doesn't have stripes on her body - she has what we call "leopard spots". She does have some thin stripes, but she's not banded with them like Smirnoff is. When she's outside in the sun her spots come out big time. I'll have to remember to take a photo when they're on display. Her scales are also soft. You can rub her either way and she's smooth. Smirnoff you rub head to tail. If you go tail to head you will get poked and skinned up - her scales are sharp on the back edge. As you can see in the photos, Smirnoff is dark green and Jose Cuervo is pretty much lime green. Her spines and feet are generally orange (more so during mating season) and during mating season she gets very turquoise around her eyes and other spots around her head.
She has routines. She doesn't like to lounge outside like Smirnoff does. She goes out to go potty and maybe lay in the sun a few minutes and she's over it. She will scratch at the door and when you let her in, she goes directly to the kitchen and sits in front of the sink staring up...because "up" is where the food magically comes down from the counter. She's smarter than she looks. If food doesn't magically appear within 5 minutes or so, she continues thru the kitchen and straight to her cage where she will put herself away. She's funny like that.
So there you go...Smirnoff and Jose Cuervo - they are friends of mine.
PSA! If you're interested in getting an iguana for your kid - rethink that idea. They are a lot of work. Just because you don't have to walk them like you do a dog, does not make them anything like a fish as far as care goes. I highly recommend this book if you have an iguana or head to your local bookstore and spend an hour reading it BEFORE you get an iguana.