Author Archives: Elaine

Little Cayman – Visit with my cousins and the iguanas

After the great visit on Cayman Brac, I went to Little Cayman.  Little Cayman is the other Sister Island in the Cayman Islands.  Most people go to Little Cayman to scuba dive, you know how they take a tank of air and go swimming under water.  Scuba diving is something that I as a curly-tail lizard am never going to do.  People enjoy watching all the animals in the ocean.  Elaine and I went for entirely different reasons.  First, she had to finish up some work on my second book, “Curtis Curly-tail Hears a Hutia.”  This time I tell the story with different endings so you can choose which one you like the best.  You see, the hutia are damaging the protected ecosystem on my home cay, Warderick Wells.  The humans aren’t sure what to do about that.  So the reader gets to decide how they would handle the problem.  I suggest 3 possible choices, but maybe one of you out there might come up with an even better solution.

It had been very rainy on Little Cayman.  Elaine was hoping to have a day or two of rain, so she could spend a lot of time writing and inserting illustrations where they needed to go in the text.  Of course, I brought the lovely weather and she only got to write as the sun rose over the ocean.

I’ve started working on my third book “Curtis Curly-tail is Lizardnapped.”  It will be full of suspense, maybe a bit scary.  I get captured by poachers and taken off Warderick Wells.  I haven’t written the ending yet, so I don’t know if I make it back or not!

While the sun was out, Elaine joined her friends (Jill, Jen and Tay) in surveying the iguanas on Little Cayman like she had on Cayman Brac.  While she was out with the iguanas, I visited with my cousins.  We discussed story-lines, so yes, someday there will be a curly-tail tale set on Little Cayman.


Iguana Surveying on Cayman Brac

A little later, I was off to Cayman Brac.  Cayman Brac is one of the sister Islands in the Cayman Islands.  It is just a few miles south of Cuba.  We were helping a doctoral student learn how to capture and ‘process’ the iguanas.  Process means all their body measurements are taken: weight, length, sex, scars, etc.  Everything you would want to know about the animal.  Oh, I need to tell you which iguana it is.  Silly me.  The species of iguana on CB, that’s short for Cayman Brac, is Cyclura nubila caymanensis. Since most humans don’t use scientific names, they are colloquially known as Sister Island Rock Iguanas. I love that word colloquially.  They are native to CB and Little Cayman (Little Cayman is the other sister island).  Not much is known about the CB iguanas, so we are helping out with the research now being done.  There is so much to learn and we need to learn it before the SIRIs are all gone.  The ig population is in decline due to habitat encroachment by human development and predation by feral dogs and cats. Extinction is a real possibility.  So a few dedicated humans are working to ensure their survival.


a young SIRI

Going to CB also lets me visit with my cousins, the CB curly-tails.  Yes, my ancestors wandered far and wide.  I can see why some of them settled in the Caymans.  They are lovely islands.  Not as nice as the Bahamas, but I am biased.

My cousin, a Cayman Brac Curly-tail Lizard

Cayman Brac Curly-tail

Like us curly-tails, the igs like to bask.  Only they do it on the roads where they get hit by cars.  The DOE and DOT have put up signs warning drivers that there may be iguanas on the road.  Sadly, too many igs are still being hit and killed.  Maybe with time, the drivers will become more cautious.  The CB iguanas are great animals and deserve respect.  I encourage everyone to get to know an iguana, even if it’s not a SIRI.


Tucson Festival of Books 2015

Greetings everyone.

Sorry for my absence of late.  Humans say ‘time flies quickly,’ but it’s even quicker in curly-tail lizard time.  I had many more interesting things to tell you about but then I got traveling.  My friend Elaine needed someone to go with her on her trips and I couldn’t say no.  So, in my next several posts, I’m going to tell you about the places I’ve been and the interesting curly-tails and people I’ve met.

In March, we went down to the University of Arizona campus for the Tucson Festival of Books.  It was unbelievable.  The festival was huge.  It took me the entire two days to see everything. Hundreds of thousands of people came to share books, entertainment, and food. Famous authors gave talks on writing and the book business.  Readers came to buy books from their favorite and soon-to-be new favorite authors.  Performers sang and danced.  All sorts of food, too.  I confess while Elaine was busy, I went around sampled the crumbs.  They were delicious. Elaine had a booth with some friends where she sold her books. The story of my adventure, “Curtis Curly-tail and the Ship of Sneakers,” sold the best.  I was pleased to see that people wanted it in more than just English.  Many grandparents wanted a book in Spanish to read to their grandchildren.  I was happy to sell them my friend Dorothy’s translation.

The booth across from Elaine’s featured languages from around the world.  Check out the gallery to see Elaine in front of posters from France, Mexico and the USA holding my story.  I can pretend my story has gone around the world!

One of the main purposes of the festival is to encourage literacy.  I’m all in favor of literacy.  After all, I want everyone to read my books.  Yes, books.  My second story, “Curtis Curly-tail Hears a Hutia,” is just about to be released.  I can’t wait.  It features my good friend Horace Hutia and his family.  Not only is it a great story but the reader gets to choose the ending they prefer.  I think you’ll like it.

Well, it’s time for me to run down to the beach and see if any tourists are coming.  Until next time, may the sun shine down upon you warmly, may the gulls be slow, and may your curly-tail be perfectly curled.



Curtis’ First Blog

Greetings Everyone! I’m Curtis Curly-tail and this is my blog. I confess, when Elaine asked me to write a blog, I had no idea what was involved. But my friend Dudley Dewlap, (he’s a green iguana talk show host), gave me some pointers, so I am ready to curl my tail and get down to blogging. I thought it would be hard to write with my perfectly sized lizard fingers but it’s going quite well. I’m getting pretty good at hitting the space bar with my tail.

Dudley suggested I start off by introducing myself. I am a Bahamian curly-tail lizard, scientific name Leiocephalus carinatus. We curl our tails up over our backs. Humans have often wondered why we do this. We use it to attract the girls, obviously, and to distract predators. Some people think that the waving tail will make the predators attack the wrong end of the lizard, ending up with only a mouthful of tail. But don’t worry, our tails grow back. Personally, I think waving my tail lets the predator know I see him and he doesn’t have any hope in catching me.

I live on Warderick Wells Cay, (cay means island), in the Bahamas. My cay is located in the group of islands called the Exumas. I think they are the best islands of all of the Bahamas islands. Along with other small lizards, we curly-tails share some of the islands with rather large lizards called iguanas. Unlike my friend Dudley who lives in a tree, the Exuma iguanas are rock iguanas, Cyclura cychlura figginsi, who live, you guessed it, in rocks. Scientists often come to the Exumas to study them. That’s how I met Elaine -she came to study the natural history of the Exumas with her citizen scientist friends. We spent a lovely afternoon getting to know each other.


I like to ride on the visitors’ shoes. I don’t get stepped on that way.


Along with lizards, many birds live with me on Warderick Wells. This is a friendly bananaquit. They enjoy meeting the visitors as well.

Here’s a couple of photos of my big lizard friends, the Exuma iguanas.



Well, I’ll wave my tail good-bye for now. Thanks for reading!




October 16, 2014

Welcome to my blog! These are the thoughts of a curly-tail lizard who saw the world and decided he liked his own home better.