On the way to duPlooy’s for dinner, about a 5-minute walk from our Macal River Beach, a large black iguana crossed our pagh. These iguanas, known as Wish Willies are found in many parts of Belize and duPlooy’s is no exception. Unlike the more common Green Iguana, who are mostly vegetarians, Wish Willies are carnivorous, feeding on small mammals.
Iguanas in Belize occupy the riverine forests of the country. The Green Iguana is the largest lizard of the country and can grow to a length of 4-5 feet including its long tail. Their local name is “Bamboo Chicken” and, before they were declared endangered, they were a popular dish around Easter when the females are carrying eggs.
A unique behavioral characteristic of these green Iguanas is that they are often found on branches overhanging the rivers or streams, and when they sense danger they jump into the river for safety, so when you are canoeing down the Macal River from duPlooy’s, look for them in the trees and if you hear a loud splash near your canoe, no worries, it’s probably a green iguana and probably not a giant person-eating fish.