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How Many Eyes Does An Iguana Have? by Elaine A. Powers, Author

photo of third eye of rhini iguana

When giving talks to people about reptiles, a question is asked of the audience: How many eyes do iguanas have? The majority quickly respond “two.” An obvious choice. However, when asked if there are other answers, a tentative “four” is offered? People then look uncertain. The correct answer is three!

The third eye is located on the top of the iguana’s head is and is call the Parietal Eye.  It doesn’t have an eyelid nor is it able to focus but it responds to changes in light and can detect movement.

photo of third eye of green iguana

People have on these “third eyes” as well, but the skull is in the way. It’s called the Pineal Gland. The iguana’s third eye helps with Circadian Rhythm and danger from above. It’s helpful to have a warning when a hawk or snake is coming down. Everything eats an iguana.

The next time you are fortunate enough to be near iguanas, or other lizards, look at the top of their heads. You might see an interesting dome.  Now, you’ll know it’s the very handy “third” eye.

For more information about iguanas, check out the iguana workbook, My Unit Study on Iguanas. LOTS of fun, educational activities in this 30-page workbook.

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The Right Words Make All the Difference by Elaine A. Powers, Author

a woman stands by a caution sign for iguanas in the road
Tanja shows the ineffective signs
Iguana conservationists were excited when road signs where put up on the Sisters Islands of the Cayman Islands, reminding drivers to slow down to protect the endemic iguanas, which unfortunately, enjoy the warmth of the roads and bask on them. Given enough warning, which happens when cars approach at the speed limit, the large lizards can get off the road.  Many iguanas have lost their tails to car tires, but they did survive. Unfortunately, far too many drivers don’t care if they hit an iguana or two as they drive along. They could be speeding, looking at their cell phones, or sadly, some aim for the lizards. Residents hoped the signs would help save lives. Despite the signs, iguanas continued to die on the roads of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. What was needed? Additional signs were put up. School children were educated in the hopes that concern would spread within families. Then someone had an idea: Maybe the folks on the islands didn’t realize how unique these lizards are because they see them day in and day out. So, the signs were redesigned. The new signs emphasize that the Sister Isle Rock Iguana is an endangered species. They were installed along with the powerful hope that this news will get people’s attention. Another proposal was suggested that I really liked: Have the islands’ children design warning signs that are then installed along the roads. People would be delighted to see their relatives’ work and slow down to look at them. Education and responsibility are needed to help SIRIs survive in the only places they live on this earth. Humans can harm or help, and it is hoped drivers on the islands will slow down, even stop, for these special and endangered large lizards.
A woman and man stand near a Give Way to Iguanas sign
Tanja and Greg show off the new “Give Way to Rock Iguanas” sign

Why not count/sort/puzzle over iguanas, instead of apples? Big lizards are very interesting and a lot of fun to color! This inexpensive, yet wonderfully designed 30-page workbook is chock full of fun and educational activities. Get yours today!

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Oxidative Stress Happens to All Animals by Elaine A. Powers, Author

a green colored iguana lying on a tree branchToday we hear about oxidative stress and anti-oxidants. One of the parameters measured on animals in field research is oxidative stress. Reactive oxygen species are quantified, or measured. Do you know what these terms mean and why they are so important?

As we learned in science class, atoms such as oxygen are made up of a nucleus with protons and neutrons, with electrons spinning around it. But oxygens don’t keep tight control of their electrons and they tend to bind to other atoms. Free radicals are oxygen-containing molecules with an uneven number of electrons.  This uneven number allows them to easily react with other molecules. These reactions are called oxidation.

Oxidation is a normal process in bodily functions. Free radicals help fight off pathogens which cause infections and damage to fatty tissue, DNA and proteins. Oxidative stress happens when there’s an imbalance between free radical activity and antioxidant activity. An antioxidant is a molecule that is able to donate an electron to a free radical without destabilizing itself.  The donation stabilizes the free radical, so it becomes less reactive.

But it’s not just humans that get oxidative stress – all animals do.  Nowadays, along with measuring an iguana for the usual length and weight, they are often examined for oxidative stress. Are our human activities increasing the oxidative stress in the native animals around us?  Sadly, yes. And it’s having negative effects on their health, as well.

I’ll be including some of these negative effects in upcoming books, such as Curtis Curly-tail Goes to the Doctor. In the meantime, if you’d like to learn about the what is being done to save the endangered Sister Island Rock Iguana, please read my book, Silent Rocks. It is for sale at Amazon.

cover of book "Silent Rocks." white background, rock iguana pictured in natural habitat on island Cayman Brac
The population of the endemic Sister Island Rock Iguana (Cyclura nubila caymanensis) on Cayman Brac is in serious decline. These vegetarian lizards are an important part of the island’s ecosystem. The reduction in population is the result of human activity on their habitat and the threats can only be eliminated by human action.
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Lots of New Science Fun with Four New Books at Lyric Power Publishing!

Lyric Power Publishing LLC is proud to announce the arrival of four new books! Here at LPP we love weaving science into adventure tales and rhyming books. We love colorful, exciting illustrations. We hope you will enjoy three wonderful new additions to our book catalog and a special guest listing for Ricky Ricordi.

olive green book cover with illustrations of a hickatee and a sea turtle
The Cayman Islands have turtles that live both on land and in the sea. Hickatee lives on land and doesn’t belong in the sea, like the sea turtles. Do you know the differences? Come inside and learn about turtles, especially the marvelous hickatee.

 

A book cover with a blue sky, white clouds and brown booby birds on the beach
Meet the Brown Booby, a large sea bird which is a year-round resident only of Cayman Brac, They are not found at all in Grand Cayman or Little Cayman. These birds are a spectacular sight, soaring and gliding along the Bluff edge and the shore, diving for fish to feed their young, perching on rocks in the sun, then returning to their nesting colonies. With only about forty nesting pairs on the Brac, they are protected by Cayman law.

 

A golden orange book cover with a green catfish on the cover
Clarissa Catfish liked her new home at the Peoria Playhouse Children’s Museum, but she couldn’t see the exhibits or the children in her tank. How can a catfish see the sights when she needs to stay in the water? Come inside to find out and join Clarissa as she explores the marvelous museum.

 

a book cover of boy in jungle with iguana on shoulder
When Lorenzo finds an iguana in his garden, he has loads of fun bonding with his new pet, but soon realizes that the animal belongs in the wild.
Dominican children’s author Nelia Barletta recently released a second children’s book, RICKY RICORDI: THE ADVENTURES OF AN IGUANA, which educates children about conservation and the protection of endangered animals of the Dominican Republic. The book focuses on the Ricordi iguana, an endemic species of the Caribbean island and features illustrations by Argentinian artist/children’s illustrator Juan Manuel Moreno.
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Ricky Ricordi: The Adventures of An Iguana by Nelia Barletta now Available at Lyric Power Publishing

a book cover of boy in jungle with iguana on shoulderWhen Lorenzo finds an iguana in his garden, he has fun bonding with his new
pet, but soon realizes that the animal belongs in the wild.

Lyric Power Publishing, along with John Binns of the IRCF, recently assisted Dominican children’s author Nelia Barletta in the publication of the English version of her book about Ricky Ricordi. The delightful illustrations were created by Argentinian artist/children’s illustrator Juan Manuel Moreno. The English version is now available on Amazon.com.

Ricky Ricordi: The Adventures of an Iguana focuses on the Ricordi iguana, an endemic species of the Dominican Republic. The goal of this book is to educate children about conservation and the protection of endangered animals of the Dominican Republic. However, people around the world will enjoy this adventure tale.

Proceeds from the book are donated to Fundacion Abriendo Camino, an organization working to support disadvantaged children in Villas Agricolas, a marginalized neighborhood in Santo Domingo.

We encourage you to read this great adventure tale that is both entertaining and educational. Any story about an iguana is worthwhile reading!

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The Honduran Bay Islands Iguanas Need Protection by Elaine A. Powers, Author

Infographic with woman holding Spiny-tail Iguana
My all-time favorite Spiny-tailed iguana, Krinkle, who died earlier this year. He is greatly missed.

Attending an IUCN ISG meeting, I had the chance to visit the Bay Islands, in northern Honduras.  The endemic iguanas need protection there.  I had previously been told that is was safe to visit the Bay Islands (Islas de la Bahia), and that most people spoke English in a country whose first language was Spanish.

The primary islands of Utila, Roatan, and Guanaja are located in the Caribbean Sea. The Bay Islands were first noted by Columbus in 1502 and were settled in 1642 by English buccaneers. Great Britain annexed them in 1852 but ceded them to Honduras in 1859. Many tourists visit the islands today for scuba diving.

Roatan Spiny Tailed Iguana
Roatan Spiny Tailed Iguana

My interest is, of course, iguanas. All the iguanas found in Honduras need protection. Roatán Spiny-tailed Iguanas (Ctenosaura oedirhina) are found only in one place in the world: on the island of Roatán. On Utila, there are three native iguanas, but only one is endemic: The Útila Spiny-tailed Iguana (Ctenosaura bakeri), or “Swamper,” as it is known locally. Swampers are the only iguana that live in mangrove swamps. They prefer the black mangroves, (Avicennia germinans), which have crevices for hiding.

Swamper Iguana
Swamper Iguana

Hopefully, people within and outside of Honduras will work together for their conservation.

To learn more about these fascinating really big lizards, why not download our workbook full of fun and educational activity sheets, called My Unit Study on Iguanas?

a white and light blue book cover with an image of an iguana's head

See all of our comprehensive workbooks here.

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National Cat Herder’s Day is Upon Us! By Elaine A. Powers, Author

image four young kittens in a soft container
Image Courtesy of David Mark from Pixabay

I ran a rescue for green iguanas when I lived in New Jersey.  I was listed on the website Petfinders.com and was on speed dial for most of the animal control facilities and rescue organizations in the Tristate area.

Thus, I had a steady stream of iguanas pass through my house.  And I sometimes got calls from people needing a rescue for other species of animals.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t take those animals in–only iguanas. I did know of many agencies who could help them, however.

On two occasions, I found myself taking in a litter of kittens. I am not a fan of cats. Sure, they’re soft and interesting, but I prefer their reptilian counterpart, the iguana. But a friend had made emergency rescues and the kittens had no place else to go. Allegedly.

Cats are not iguanas and may I point out that they are iguana predators.  I intended to keep the kittens confined in my second bathroom and away from my pets, who might be considered prey. The first few days went well, with the cats living and eating contentedly in their bathroom world.  I sat with them and let them interact with me, so it’s not like I ignored them.

Inevitably, their curiosity got the better of them. At first, one at a time would try to dash out the door when I opened it. The escapee was easily caught and returned to the group. Until the day, I opened the door and all four rushed me! They jumped, scrambled and successfully eluded me.

Defeated, I let them roam the house but kept a close eye on feline-reptile interactions. Fortunately, I was soon able to place all four kittens to great forever homes.

Good thing, because I am a lousy cat herder, which I freely admit on National Cat Herder’s Day. 

Lyric Power Publishing is proud to publish the book Silent Rocks, about the endangered Rock Iguanas on Cayman Brac, and how to save them.

cover of book "Silent Rocks." white background, rock iguana pictured in natural habitat on island Cayman Brac
The population of the endemic Sister Island Rock Iguana (Cyclura nubila caymanensis) on Cayman Brac is in serious decline. These vegetarian lizards are an important part of the island’s ecosystem. The reduction in population is the result of human activity on their habitat and the threats can only be eliminated by human action.
A woman holds a five-foot rock iguana in her living room
Now THIS is more like it–me with five foot rock iguana, Blue.
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Saving the World’s Fauna and Flora by Elaine a. Powers, Author

Image of dark blue mountains against lighted sky, with words for IUCNOnce a year I travel to an “exotic” location–not to play, but to work with the IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, for iguana conservation. The IUCN is a democratic union comprised of influential organizations, both governmental and public, and top conservation experts, in a combined effort to conserve nature and enable sustainable development. There are more than 1300 member organizations and more than 15,000 experts. These members make the IUCN the global authority on the status of the natural world and what is needed to protect it.

I am thrilled to be part of this organization and hope I contribute in my own small way to the important work they do. Their website: https://www.iucn.org/.

Header for website CITESAnother important organization for the worldwide protection of wildlife is CITES, The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. CITES publishes a voluntary international agreement that provides a framework for the parties to adopt their own domestic national legislation. So far, 183 parties have joined together. More information is available at: https://www.cites.org/eng/.

a white and light blue book cover with an image of an iguana's headThirty fun pages all about iguanas!

NOTE: Iguanas are among my very favorite animals because of their intelligence, strength, and when domesticated, their affection toward their caretakers. Their personalities are fascinating and unique, and sometimes I think they can read minds! To learn more about these amazing reptiles, please enjoy our comprehensive workbook and activity sheets, My Unit Study on Iguanas.

To see all of Lyric Power Publishing’s fun, educational workbooks, go to the Our Workbooks tab.

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Nov. 23rd is National Adoption Day by Elaine A. Powers, Author

young child on train station bench near suitcasesImage courtesy of Виктория Бородинова from Pixabay

Although National Adoption Day was created to encourage the adoption of children, adoption is also important for animals. Too many animals are waiting in adoption facilities for a forever home.

When you adopt, you receive information about your new companion animal, such as its likes and dislikes, and its personality. I have found that adopted animals are grateful for their new human companions and they show it.

I ran an iguana rescue for many years. I placed many wonderful green iguanas into knowledgeable homes–homes I knew were ready for their new family member.

a directory listing for Powers IGuana Rescue New Jersey in 2000
An image of an old listing for my Iguana Rescue in New Jersey

In all adoptions, whether children or animals, it is important to do your homework in advance. Impulse buys of animals are never good and often end in heartache for everyone involved. I waited many years before I adopted my first animal. Do your research (after all, we do have the Internet) and then get out there and adopt.

#adoptdontbuy

Green Iguana, Algae, on an enclosure.
Algae, a green iguana I rescued
a book cover of a nature preserve, where seeds are cultivated. Seeds are drawn as cute characters
A Lyric Power Publishing book about seeds longing for a home. Yes, all of life longs to find its own special place to belong!
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Oh, Those Red-Reptile Eyes! by Elaine A. Powers, Author

In the human world, red eyes are usually reserved for people possessed by demons. However, in reptiles, red eyes are not unusual and serve an important purpose.

It’s usual for males of a species to be more colorful than the females, because the females need the protective coloration of camouflage. In box turtles, the males often have bright red irises. That makes it easy to determine that he’s a he. Females have brown eyes. I think this Eastern Box Turtle’s eyes are quite attractive.

close up of head and red eye of make eastern box turtle

Equally impressive are the red eyes of rock iguanas. Both males and females have red sclera. Rock iguanas live on Caribbean islands made of white limestone. It’s thought that the red coloration protects the iguanas’ eyes from damage of the bright sunshine reflecting off the rock. So, the red sclera is like us wearing sunglasses. Everyone needs to protect their eyesight.

close up of red eye of rock iguana

Silent Rocks is published by Lyric Power Publishing, about the disappearing Sister Isle Rock Iguanas. We hope to inspire the native people and visitors alike to do all they can to save them.

cover of book "Silent Rocks." white background, rock iguana pictured in natural habitat on island Cayman Brac
The population of the endemic Sister Island Rock Iguana (Cyclura nubila caymanensis) on Cayman Brac is in serious decline. These vegetarian lizards are an important part of the island’s ecosystem. The reduction in population is the result of human activity on their habitat and the threats can only be eliminated by human action.