Next up is my tale about being kidnapped by poachers. You’ll get to meet a few more of my native Bahamian friends. You’ll also get to meet some enemies of the plants and animals of The Bahamas. If you want to boo them while you’re reading the book, go ahead.
Curtis Curly-tail is Lizardnapped deals with poaching, the illegal “taking” of plants and animals. People poach for a couple of different reasons: to collect for their personal use, like the pet trade, or for eating.
You’ll meet Allison Iguana. She’s an Andros Island Rock Iguana (Cyclura cychlura cychlura). Andros Rock Igs are big gorgeous lizards, with bright red heads. But, the Andros iguana is only one of 7 types of rock iguanas found in the Bahamas. Talk about an embarrassment of riches. All the iguanas are very attractive, a little on the large size for my taste being a much smaller perfect-sized curly-tail, but the humans are attracted to them. They take the iguanas home to make pets out of them. Sadly, a few end up as meals. If you want to eat an iguana stick with the green iguanas (Iguana iguana), they are being raised on ranches for food. Or head to Florida, where they don’t belong and are making pests of themselves. Greens lay lots of eggs and grow really quickly. Rock iguanas only lay a few eggs and live a long time. But back to the Bahamas: many lizards, birds, etc. are very attractive and people want to take them home with them, sort of as a reminder of their visit to the Bahamas. We, the residents of The Bahamas, would rather you come and visit us in our homes. Then when you go home, take photographs or even drawings. We’ll all be where we belong.
Then there’s the consumption for food problem. Once people discover something they enjoy eating, they want to eat a lot of it. There are lots more people than there are some of Bahamian animals. We’re used to predators, it’s the circle of life and all, but you have to give us time to reproduce. Just like the hutia overgrazing the plants on Warderick Wells which will lead to their starvation, so are humans overgrazing many of the tastier animals. There’s a real danger that you’ll eat us all – then what? Oops, sorry, maybe we should have left a few? It’s bad enough with the habitat destruction, i.e. our homes being destroyed for human homes. Not to mention the introduction of predators like cats, dogs, pigs, etc. We know how to escape the predators we evolved with, but it’s not fair to imperil us with predators we have no experience with.
On a happier not, I want you to meet a new human friend of mine, Jessica Minns. She, too, is a native Bahamian. Her family have been in the islands since the 1700’s. She heard about my stories and wanted to join in the fun by drawing the illustrations for this next book. Her pictures are almost as beautiful as the real animals. I know you’ll enjoy them. She, too, is from the Exumas. We’re neighbors! You should come visit us in the Exumas.
I’m working on my fourth adventure – it involves a hurricane! The story will blow you away. Get it? Hurricane…blow…
Until next time – happy basking!