Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Reptiles in a Canadian Garden???

In contrast with the stark spareness of the gardens of the other town homes in its row, our stood apart from the rest for the tangle of growth that threatened to burst the seams of the rough wooden fence. 

This small, contained pocket of green was my own private paradise. I fussed over every square inch; indulged and spoiled every plant. Turns out that not only I was appreciated to the jungle-like lushness of my garden. 

Heading into the back garden one spring morning, I noticed that the wisteria vine was hanging down awkwardly, having become unmoored from its supporting trellis. Standing on a kitchen chair, pruners in hand, I reached up to adjust the vine. As I approached the vine, pruners at the ready, there was a sudden movement inside the tangle of branches. I hesitated. Was my imagination playing a trick on me? Was it just the wind or did something just move in there? Stretching forward to take a closer look at the leafy canopy, I was surprised to see a glassy eye starring right back out at me. I gasped, lurched back and almost lost my footing.

Alarmed, I ran into the house to share what no doubt seemed like a tall tale about a mysterious creature hiding in the branches of our wisteria. Imagining I had discovered a possum or raccoon, my husband Harold went out to the yard to investigate further.

When he parted the branches to have a closer look, he too was surprised with a cool glassy eyed stare. The now startled creature shifted its position and Harold lurched back almost falling.

It did not take long for us to put two and two together and figure out the true identity of the interloper. Our neighbour two doors down kept various reptiles including snakes as pets. I knew about this because I had by chance happened to be present when he had thrilled neighborhood kids by offering them the opportunity to touch a tiny garter snake. I had also seen their pet iguana sunning himself in the window of their spare bedroom.

Turns out that “Iggy”, as we later learned was the iguana’s name, had escaped by chewing through the window screen several days earlier. 

Now, where would an iguana on the lamb choose to go to but the jungle paradise conveniently located just a few doors down?

We were not foolish enough to make any attempts to try to catch the iguana and went immediately to get his owner. Lured out into the open and on to his owner’s shoulders with a treat, we saw at last the true size of our uninvited guest. Iggy’s pale green body stretched some 5 feet from nose to the tip of his tail with a set of 4, 3 inch long claws on each foot. 

Lesson learned: A garden has a way of never ceasing to surprise you!

Hey, at least it wasn't one of the snakes that got loose!!!


  1. Wow, that must have been quite a surprise, for both of you!

  2. Yes, a snake would have been infinitely worse, but I think I'd still have fainted dead away. :) Great story...and fantastic photos.

    I have featured your blog in my sidebar for a week; I hope it brings you lots of new readers. :)

  3. What an awesome story, and great pictures to go with it. Love the happy ending, too! I, too, have three dogs in my garden, and I feel your pain (and joy). Somehow, despite all they destroy, my garden grows. Maybe it's all the doggy fertilizer...

  4. What a sneaky, and very handsome devil! I can see why you'd be surprised to find him in your garden. You were very wise not to try to catch him yourself. I have a few iguana scars myself, and one that size can be quite formidable. So glad you found Iggy's owners!

  5. Now that's quite a tale. Glad you had proof with the pictures :)

    1. Amazing, but an absolutely a true story!


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