Why are there green iguanas at the Turtle Centre?

| 11/04/2019 | 5 Comments
Ask Auntie, CNS Local Life, Caymanian status

In January we took our young grandson to the Cayman Turtle Centre, where he enjoyed holding a turtle and going on the waterslide. As we were sitting near the swimming pool, I was surprised to see a number of green iguanas on the ground and in the trees nearby. As well, it appeared to me that the large iguanas in the breeding pool enclosure were also green ones.

Why wouldn’t the centre cull these intruders and instead seek a way to let the many visitors to the centre see our beautiful blue iguanas?


Auntie’s answer: Despite your sighting of green iguanas during your visit to the Cayman Turtle Centre (CTC) a few months ago, a company representative confirmed that they are working to keep the numbers of that invasive species under control.

One centre employee is a Department of Environment-registered culler, “who along with the assistance of other staff members regularly check the grounds for iguanas and perform removals to keep the population under control”, the CTC representative said.

During the first six months of the DoE’s island-wide operation more than half a million of the greens have been culled but more needs to be done ahead of the upcoming breeding season.

At the centre, the representative said they have also wrapped trees with metal rings to try to prevent iguanas from climbing up and sitting on the branches.

The daily checks usually turn up about 10 to 15 iguanas “hanging out by the areas with water, mainly our freshwater pool and Turtle Lagoon”, but it is difficult to assess what the total population might be throughout the 22 acres of the centre.

Since, understandably, most of the culling takes place after the centre closes and the visitors have left, you would not see any staff going after the iguanas. The CTC representative confirmed that overall numbers of the pests have been declining, and estimated that about 350 have been culled over the last six months, adding, “Even with the limited opportunities to remove the iguanas, guests have commented on seeing fewer iguanas compared to a year ago.”

As for your query about the centre becoming home to an indigenous blue, I was told, “We look forward to one day housing and displaying a captive-bred blue iguana and have been in talks with the appropriate agencies towards achieving that goal.” So, on that point, I would say to stay tuned.

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Category: Ask Auntie, Environmental Questions

Comments (5)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Ha ,I wrote a comment on this a few months ago, this is the biggest pile of nonsense I’ve ever seen, they are breeding right there and they got the perfect area to do so .crazy and waste of our money, to keep them there while they work so hard to keep then under control,otherwise I’m happy to have them gone from my area .

  2. Anonymous says:

    I hope a poor blue iguana never has to stay a minute in this outdated ‘attraction’.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    Surprised you are unaware of the abuse and suffering the turtles experience when they are being handled.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    I thought everybody knows that holding turtles stresses them out.

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