Looking like something from the age of the dinosaurs, the black iguana was by far the commonest land creature we encountered in Mexico.
In fact I’m sure I have seen Raquel Welch being menaced by one back in the days when she had a boyfriend called Toomak and a lovely fur bikini.
The ones hanging around the gardens of the Grand Palladium resort were a lot smaller at about one and a half metres for a big male,
Black Iguana sunbathing
and mostly just interested in sunbathing. They tend to live in family groups of up to five lizards, presided over by a large male. They vary in colour from a dull brown through to blue under the black markings that give them their name. As far as food goes they are omnivores, eating bits of plant, insects and other lizards!
Big Bull Iguana
Aside from a crocodile, mountain lion or a jaguar they probably haven’t got much in the way of natural predators and they certainly weren’t that bothered by us, although I do understand that they are often on the menu in poorer Mexican households.
Aside from being rich in archeology and history Cyprus is also rich in wildlife. Quite fittingly we discovered that the most ancient of these creatures liked to hang out at the archeological sites that have made Paphos a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Sling-tailed Agama - Tombs of the Kings
Cyprus has eleven native lizard species of which the sling-tailed agama is the largest, growing to up to 30 centimetres. These primeval looking reptiles can often be seen sunning themselves on the ancient monuments.
The snake-eyed lizard grows to about ten centimetres. It’s one of the most commonly seen lizards on the island and we saw them virtually everywhere. What’s quite interesting to observe in their behaviour is the way they try to regulate their body temperature by raising one foot at a time off the sun toasted rocks.
Rock Dove - the Tombs of the Kings
The rock dove is the ancestor of the domestic and feral pigeon. They are quite rare in the UK so I was quite pleased to snap one at the Tombs of the Kings.
I shot this crested lark through the chain link fence (hence the fuzzy band) separating Paphos’s main archeological site from the coastal path out by the lighthouse. They were being quite bold in their courtship behaviour and were not in the least bit worried about the people on the other side of the barrier. They are quite rapid so I got lots of shots of tails vanishing out of the frame before I got the one above!
These crows were a lot more obliging. Hooded crows are a very widespread species throughout Europe, but rarely seen in the south of the UK where the all black carrion crow reigns supreme.
One of the benefits of visiting the island in the Spring, before the Sun has had the chance to desiccate most of the flora, is the butterflies.
Swallowtail butterfly - Tombs of the Kings
There are many a various. I was particularly pleased with this swallowtail that posed so nicely for me out at the Tombs of the Kings.