Intriguing Iguanas Wednesday, Mar 29 2023 

On a recent trip to the U.S. Virgin Island of St. Thomas, I became intrigued with the resident iguanas on the resort. Seeking them in the trees was a fun little challenge as they easily blended into the environment.

The lizards range from ones that could fit in our hands to ones that would fill our arms. However, I don’t recommend picking up an iguana or making any physical contact with them. We were warned that they can be deceivingly strong and aggressive and bite with their serrated teeth if approached or we try to feed them.

The iguanas on the property appeared to be familiar with people meandering around their habitat. One morning, I talked to the largest of the prehistoric looking creatures and saw its eyes looking back at me as if it was listening to what I had to say. Then I was encircled by three of them as they checked me out. I have to admit, it was a bit scary after seeing how quickly they moved when they wanted.

Iguanas are said to grow up to 70 inches in length, live as long as 60 years, and are herbivores. Like little lawn mowers, we watched as the reptiles chomped on the lawns of the resort.

According to Wikipedia, iguanas are native to areas of Mexico, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. They have excellent vision. Amazingly, females can store sperm for several years from earlier encounters with males, then fertilize eggs when males are in short supply, and they are ready to lay them.

Iguanas can be found on the menus in countries such as Mexico, Central America, Puerto Rico, and parts of the U.S. Their eggs are also consumed in some parts of Latin America.

**In the month of March we honor remarkable woman. St. Mother Theodore Guerin, also known as Saint Theodora, arrived in the Midwest in the 1800s, built elementary schools, and a college for woman. Read more about her in St. Theodora and Her Promise to God.

Surprise Find Wednesday, Sep 28 2022 

One of my favorite activities is to walk in the midst of nature. Pathways along rivers, lakes, and ponds offer abundant opportunities to spot flora and fauna. Treasures are to be found everywhere we look–deer, woodpeckers, turtles, moss, fungi.

One “treasure” I hadn’t considered are snakes. On a recent walk, a six-year-old nature enthusiast pointed out several snakes along a pond and stream I’d otherwise be oblivious to. I’ll be looking more closely under the rocks, tree stumps, and in the waterways on these types of walks from now on.

Approximately 40 species of snakes slither through Illinois. Most snakes have no interest in harming humans–until humans start poking them, which in my opinion, is fair. Only four species are venomous: Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake, found in the northern part of Illinois; and Copperhead, Cottonmouth, and Timber Rattlesnake, found in the Southern end of the state.

Our state’s venomous snake species are pit vipers and belong to the Viperdae family. Their distinguishable characteristics include their elliptical (vertical shaped) pupils, their large sensory heat-sensing pits on both sides of their heads between each eye and nostril, their broad, triangular shaped heads, and a single row of scales under the tail.

I honestly don’t know what type of snake I encountered on that walk. If you do, please tell us!

***Take care of yourself so you can better care for your loved ones. Suggestions on how to do that can be found in my book, Inspired Caregiving. Amazon has it at a bargain price right now.

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