Night of the Iguana – A Christmas Tale

As we settle down with our family this holiday season, I wanted to share with you a cautionary Christmas tale that recently happened which is too funny not to share.  My wife, Johanna, and i recently gave ourselves an early Christmas present and traveled to Costa Rica, a county we have visited many time before.  As I relaxed beside the pool, basking in the warmth of the sun and listening to Christmas carols on my headphones, I suddenly realized that my flesh was being torn apart.  My brain froze and I thought about the end of the world scenario, a possible Zombie outbreak, or even a violent burglar!  As my eyes quickly opened, my shock turned to horror as a 4 foot iguana chomped his sharp, dinosaur-like teeth into my arm.  Blood was everywhere and I was under attack!  I jumped up from my seat and grabbed a weapon, as my primitive caveman brain directed me to fight to the death to protect my pool and my wife.  Unfortunately, when I grabbed the pool net, I realized that it was too small to capture this descendant of a T-Rex.  This wild beast jumped over the cement wall and I walked briskly back inside the home, waiting for my mortal enemy to return.  Within minutes, I caught sight of this inglorious reptile attacking my bright orange frozen beer mug with renewed energy.

The owners of the rental home quickly came to provide additional support (and a machete).  How many adults does it take to capture a feral iguana?  Apparently more than 4 since even the trusted landscaper was of no help either and we understood that this battle would be left for another day.  Johanna instructed me to go to the pharmacy nearby and seek medical attention.  Unfortunately, even the pharmacists had a chuckle at my plight and continued to ask me if it had really been an iguana and how many cervas I had consumed. I was forced to bring out my phone and prove my story true by sharing with them the photos of my vicious assault.  I saw their lips curl in amusement as I contemplated being the first Canadian to succumb to my injuries from an iguana bite.  After purchasing my antibacterial ointment and cleaning my war wound, I made the decision to avoid the pool while the murderous lizard waited for my return.

I returned home to Nanaimo earlier this week, and have been fairly sheepish about my attack.  I received little sympathy from my McCullough Team as they took great joy in reminding me that iguanas are vegetarians.  I attempted to research how many others might have been similarly attacked, but my Google search produced little information.  There was no mention of the dangerous iguana breeds, but several mentions of the small but mighty mosquitoes that ravage visitors to Costa Rica.  In case you are wondering, there were 13 deaths in Costa Rica attributed to mosquitoes but none to the vicious iguana in a given year.  To my horror, there were numerous articles advocating these creatures as being kept as household pets due to their “non-aggressive nature towards humans and bright colors”.

What has this got to do with Christmas?  While many of you will be dreaming of sugar plums dancing and reindeers landing with Santa on the roof, I will be thinking of that dastardly lizard from across the globe.  In the spirit of Christmas, I will hoist another frosted orange mug on Christmas day that is filled with holiday cheer and toast the green-bellied soul and look out my window and be grateful to watch the eagles, deer and harmless animals in my yard.  There truly is no better (or safer place) than home sweet home.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone!

Warm Regards,
Brian McCullough & Myles McCullough

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