Girl’s Fight!

(Day 3, Fernandina Island, mid-morning)

February is right in the middle of the marine iguana breeding season. That requires a nest where the moms can lay their eggs. To my surprise, when it comes to creating nests, iguana seemed to fall into two camps – producers, and takers.

Some of the expectant moms dig shallow nests in the soft sand on Fernandina Island. This is a slow process, as these creatures are by no means designed for excavating the loose sand.

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Creating a Nest for Junior
Abraham Pachikara, Copyright 2018 (Click for larger image)

And other females? Well, their plan is a simpler one – – waltz up to a good looking home, and take it.

The reaction is pretty logical. “Take my newly created home? Damned if that’s going to happen!”

I watched in shock. Three letters came to mind: “WTF?” The nerve of this intruder.

The upshot? An intense, Greco-Roman style battle. Two combatants. Very low center of gravity. Muscular arms and legs. To this, add a lot of emotion, and a muscular, marauding tail. The result is a truly intense combat, that only lasts a few minutes (like any round of Olympic style wrestling.)

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Defending One’s Home From Another Usurper
Abraham Pachikara, Copyright 2018 (Click for larger image)

I could not tell if the makers or the takers won more of these battles. One not-so-surprising behavior given the high stakes: the victor (not necessarily the rightful owner) is by no means humble. Her mouth is open, head bobbing up and down, hissing as the vanquished ambles away. Perhaps on the hunt for a home to hijack?

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Send-off for the Loser, Then Settle into the Nest For a Quiet Moment
Abraham Pachikara, Copyright 2018 (Click for larger image)

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