Strolling around the U.S. Virgin Island of St. Thomas, the iguana is the most common creature you’ll spot scampering across roads and fences. These scaly lizards range in shades of green, gray and black and can grow up to six feet long. Iguanas are legally protected in the U.S. Virgin Islands, it’s against the law to kill them, which is why you’ll often see them slithering across cafe tables and chairs. At the Sugar Bay Resort on the east end of St. Thomas, you can grab and up close and personal wild iguana encounter at the resort’s daily iguana feedings.
At precisely 10:30AM, dozens of iguanas slowly emerge from the surrounding water, rocks and bushes on Sugar Bay’s 31 lush acres. If you venture too close, they may whip their tails around, which is a warning that claims their territory. Iguanas are vegetarians that eat leaves, fruit and flowers, which are piled up in a feeding area by the resort’s staff. These creatures especially love cherries, pomegranates and anything red, which I discovered the hard way, decked out in a bright red sun dress. About eight iguanas quickly gathered around me, perhaps expecting an especially juicy meal. I escaped on top of a table. You can attempt to feed them a leaf or two by hand but they munch rather ominously and can’t differentiate where the food stops and a finger begins. I skipped feeding themselves and observed as they crawled around the feeding area, snatching up morsels and then creeping back into their bushes and trees for a nap. After observing reptiles in their natural habitat, it’s great to gain another perspective of the island. Sugar Bay Resort is actually carved into a mountainside and you can grab a fresh fruit smoothie and enjoy awesome views from atop the resort’s lounge.
Photos courtesy of Rosalind Cummings-Yeates
Disclosure: These activities were part of a sponsored media trip.