The Iguanas of St. Thomas

An iguana on the grass in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.

Before traveling to St. Thomas, in the U.S. Virgin Islands a few weeks ago, I had read that iguanas were quite prevalent.  They are, in fact, just about as prevalent as squirrels are in Northeast Ohio.  My first encounter, pictured here, was a little disconcerting, not knowing whether these dragon like creatures were dangerous or not.  This iguana, I nicknamed “Iggie,” came toward me several times and I have to admit that I backed away each time!  A day or 2 later I learned that they are herbivores, primarily eating fruit and vegetables. Many of them avoided people, but in some touristy areas they seemed pretty comfortable around people.

"Iggie" the iguana approaches for a closeup.

A few days later, I came upon “Iggie” again.  This time I was preparing to do some snorkeling and had a Nikon AW100 underwater camera with me.  Getting down as close to ground level as I could to get some more photos of “Iggie,” at his eye level, he began to approach.  I held my ground this time and he eventually came close enough to lick my camera lens!  Since learning that they have an appetite for bright colored fruit, I now believe that “Iggie” may have thought my orange colored AW100 was in fact a bright piece of fruit!

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About Kolman Rosenberg

My interest in photography began as a college newspaper and yearbook photographer during the stormy 1960s and 1970s. I was influenced by many of the great photojournalists and documentary photographers such as W. Eugene Smith, Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, Gordon Parks, Margaret Bourke-White and other black and white photographers of Life Magazine and the earlier Farm Security Administration. Though many of these photographers documented the horrors of war and the plight of poverty, they also showed me the dignity and adaptability of human beings in their desire to prevail.
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4 Responses to The Iguanas of St. Thomas

  1. Dave Brooks says:

    This is Incredible! I liked the way you put this together. The next time I’m in St. Thomas, I’ll have to look for these “squirrels.”

    Dave

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  2. Not hard to find, especially in tourist areas, they like the attention. You can also spot them in trees and brush but you have to look hard for them there. They blend in very well!

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  3. Stayed at a hotel in December of 1998 that had lots of iguanas. I would stop and talk to them and really enjoyed watching them. A guest staying at our hotel told us we were actually staying on an iguana preserve. Hotels have changed names many times but I would love to find this area again. As soon as I find it, we are going back!

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