There is so much to do and see during a trip to Exuma, from the yummy food to the picture-perfect beaches. Exuma also has a ton of exclusive wildlife you should set time aside to see. Besides the famous swimming pigs, Exuma is also the only home to Allen Cays Iguanas. These friendly reptiles are a popular attraction that you can interact with and feed, but here are a few tips to keep in mind when visiting them.
Know Where to Go
What’s so special about Allen Cay Iguanas? For one, they’re only found on Exuma! They were thought to be extinct until they were rediscovered on these remote cays. They can be found on a few islands in Exuma such as Leaf Cay, Flat Rock Reef Cay, and in Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park on Warderick Wells Cay, however, most people visit them on Allen’s Cay as it has the largest population and the biggest iguanas.
Feed Approved Food
Allen Cay Iguanas are so popular because you can visit them in their natural habitat and feed them some tasty treats! There’s nothing like watching a 24-pound reptile jump in the air to snatch a grape. Make sure you only bring and feed them approved food though. If you visit with a tour guide, they will let you know what’s okay to feed them. Most people feed them grapes, delivered via sticks, but most fruits and veggies are ok. Avoid feeding them anything that is covered in the sand though as they can’t digest it well and it could harm them.
Keep an Eye on Them
While the iguanas are docile and used to humans, they are still wild animals. They’re known for being quite bold, so keep an eye on them, especially with kids around. The iguanas are known for jumping in the air and will even bite. They especially love to bite fingers as they mistake these for grapes. Feed them by tossing food in the air or via stick and avoiding sticking your fingers near them.
Bring a Camera
You won’t get many chances to see and feed wild iguanas. Make sure you bring along a camera to capture the moment. These will be snaps you’ll cherish forever. We recommend putting your phone or camera in a waterproof case so that it doesn’t get damaged from water or sand if it falls.
Don’t Bring Other Animals
Bringing other animals to visit Allen Cay Iguanas is actually prohibited, but that doesn’t stop people from trying. Please do not bring other animals like cats and dogs when visiting the iguanas. A single dog could wipe out the entire endangered population. Other animals not only hunt the iguanas but also introduce bacteria and diseases they aren’t used to that could kill them.
Prep for Crowds
Don’t expect to have the entire cay to yourself. The Allen Cay Iguanas are a popular attraction, and many boat tours stop by. The good news is there’s plenty of room and cute iguanas so it shouldn’t prevent you from enjoying it. They’re usually out from sunrise to sunset, so if you want to avoid crowds try going earlier or later in the day.
Be Nice to Them
Remember, these iguanas are animals that deserve to be treated with kindness and respect. While they’re used to being around humans you should still be careful when interacting with them to avoid harming them. Allen Cay Iguanas are critically endangered and should be protected. Harming them could actually get you in trouble so be gentle around them!