Volunteers and staff put the plastic containers in the bottom of a bathtub before opening them up to meet Cayman’s newest blue iguanas. The endangered reptiles, as soon as they’re released from the containers that once protected the iguana eggs, start scrambling up the sides of the bathtub, following their natural instinct to find somewhere to hide.
A series of videos from the Cayman National Trust shows the scurrying baby blue iguanas trying their best to run up the sides of the tub.
“After these guys got tired from their instinctive attempt to escape predators, they were weighed, measured and taken to the Blue Iguana Breeding facility at the Botanic Park where they will be taken care of for two years before they are released into the wild. This head-start gives them highest chances of survival in the wild,” the National Trust wrote along with the video.
The Trust’s Paul Watler said there are still blue iguana eggs in the incubator and he expects about 50 new blues this season.
The Trust began its captive breeding program in 1990 and it moved to the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park in the mid-’90s. The program incubates the eggs and many of the young iguanas are released into the wild once they reach adulthood.
Cayman’s blue iguanas are listed as a critically endangered species, but the National Trust and the Blue Iguana Recovery Program have been working to change that.
Volunteers and Trust staff collected eggs from newly dug nests in the spring to give the next generation of blues a better chance at surviving to adulthood, according to Mr. Watler.
The eggs are put in vermiculite and placed in an incubator for the two-and-a-half-month gestation period.
In an earlier interview, Mr. Watler said, “The whole thing with iguanas is once they hatch they are out on their own, so they need to spend longer in the developmental process before they come out.”