Friday, February 6, 2009

Baby iguana (2)

When we crossed the log bridge shown yesterday, this baby iguana was on a broken tree trunk, right at eye level, to greet us. He did not move until we got very close. Even more so than most animals, iguanas are much cuter as infants than as adults. In fact, some adult iguanas are downright ugly (in my opinion), although harmless and fascinating to watch, with their dinosaur-like movements and appearance.

There are several ways to distinguish between iguanas and baby geckos. Iguanas come out in the day, and geckos are nocturnal. Iguanas have claws, whereas geckos have round pads on their toes, with tiny hooks underneath, too small to see, that they can use for climbing up walls and hanging on ceilings. Iguanas usually have round eyes, whereas a gecko's eyes have vertical slits for vision at night.

I hope that my posts during the last couple of days did not build up expectations for something more dramatic than a baby iguana. We did see a toucan, monkeys and a capybara on this same hike.

My favorite jungle wildlife story occurred in the Amazon rather than in Costa Rica. I can brag that I deflected a full speed attack by a wild animal at night with my lightning-quick reflexes, as the animal bounced off my forearm, which I raised in front of my face in the nick of time. What type of animal was it, you may wonder? A hummingbird.

11 comments:

Kate said...

I hate to disagree with someone as knowledgeable as you, but I find adult iguanas quite handsome!! This cute little fella is photographed very well. Good information, too.

Jilly said...

What a beauty. I remember in Cairns, a friend had a timber home in the rainforest and an enormous iguana lived on the beams. Bit scary but most handsome. I rather like reptiles, actually, so perhaps I'm biased. Come to think of it, perhaps it was a gecko but it was very big.

Love the hummingbird story...and have loved this series with the bridge.

Sharon said...

This fellow is quite attractive. I enjoyed seeing the iguanas roaming the streets in Costa Rica.

Jarart said...

I'm glad you survived the hummingbird attack so that you could take more pictures to show us. I once knew someone who had a pet iguana that was large and quite beautiful, but it would give a nasty bite if it was in a bad mood. Cute one today.

Stu said...

"Iguanas usually have vertical slits for eyes, whereas a gecko's eyes need to have larger pupils to allow more light in for vision at night."

Actually this is incorrect. Iguanas have circular pupils, as you can see by enlarging your photo, along with most diurnal animals. All nocturnal animals, that I know of, have vertical pupils because they actually let more light in than circular ones.

David said...

All right, Stuart. I stand corrected, but your answer and correction does not make sense. I knew that a difference between geckos and iguanas was that one of them had vertical slits and the other had round pupils, but I thought it was that geckos would have the round eyes because it does not make any sense that vertical slits let in more light than round pupils.

A circle is a much larger area than a slit. If you turn off the lights in your bathroom, allow your eyes to adjust to the darkness, then flip the light on, and I bet your pupils will be large (and round).

I guess my failure to detect the round pupil in the iguana in my photo today proves that my eyes are worse than an iguana's.

Next time I will not try to write anything about reptiles without checking with you first.

Babooshka said...

His such a beauty I have to confess.

Stu said...

Well, I challenge you to catch a gecko while watching the beautiful sunset on your patio. You can then take him into the bathroom and play the mirror and light game to see how much larger it's pupils will open.

Another advantage to vertical pupils is that they allow less light in when constricted, thus lessening the irritation to the animal or damage to the retina from playing another favorite childhood game of seeing how long one can stare at the sun.

nathalie in avignon said...

I agree with Kate and Jilly, I quite like iguanas, even large ones. I saw a few in Australia that hanged around campgrounds almost like pets. That was fun. Sorry I can't comment every day but I really enjoy regular visits to your blog.

I answered your question on my blog today ("which way to freedom?":
I believe the message is directly anti-Sarkozy: our freedom is going down the drain, the right wing currently in power is applying repression. Just like in the US there's a (justified) fear that fundamental liberties are being sacrificed in the name of security.

Dave-CostaRicaDailyPhoto.com said...

Stu,
I corrected the text in the blog regarding the eyes of iguanas and geckos. I note that some school kids hit my site by Google searches about geckos and baby iguanas, so I would not want to give them wrong information.

Thank you for allowing them to be better educated, and thank you for showing that a child can correct his father. I am sorry that I give you so many occasions to do so.

Esploratore said...

Bellissima; i like it

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