Apparently, in the five years since I have visited south Florida there has been an iguana invasion. They are beautiful, and fun to watch, but don't really belong there. They are escaped pets, who are thriving, and breeding and munching away at the landscape. I've been visiting Florida for over 40 years, and had never seen iguanas there until this recent visit, but now they seem to be everywhere, daily visitors in mom's yard, chomping away at the fruits of mom's gardening labors. I saw more at the park, watched a dog hunt a big one down (I'll spare you those sad pictures), saw one that had to be 3 feet long meandering alongside a very busy road.
They are not the only invaders, mom's yard, previously populated by adorable little brown anole lizards is now home to curly tail lizards, which were brought over from the bahamas to eat pest in the sugarcane fields a county north. Pythons, also released pets, are now a problem in the Everglades. It really does make my scientist think hard about how our actions impact the environment. Are there invaders merely nuisances, or are they detrimentally affecting the native species. It would be a fun place for some ecology projects, that's for sure.
But since they are there... I enjoyed them, a nature lover loves out of place nature too. As you can see they pose nicely for pictures, until you get too close, then they move with rapid speed, and when they jump in the canal and shoot like torpedos through the water. I did not know they swam, so watching them dive and swim was quite entertaining. Mostly though I'm enamored by textures and colors of their scales and spines... I can see a lot of artful inspiration potential!