"An iguana's tail can cut you like whip. It is extremely dangerous when provoked."
With these words the lady from the zoo who visited my class in elementary school terrified me forever of those spiky gray-green lizards. Ever since then, every time I've seen an iguana, and up to two years ago that was primarily in captivity, I've pictured that woman and her giant glove holding this grumpy-looking reptile with it's potentially dangerous tail dangling toward the floor, ready to leap into action and slash gaping wounds into all of our flesh at any moment.
Dramatic enough? I was eight. Some things stay with you.
The track at school where I log much of my running time is usually a place I can space out. I don't run with music but I'm used to the circular monotony from years of going up and back in the pool for swimming. The biggest hazards I have to be aware of are errant soccer balls and the ugly little territorial dive-bombing birds when they have eggs or chicks to protect.
The evil chick spawn have flown the coup and soccer season is over, so I was mentally prepared for an obstacle-free run when I rounded the corner and two (plural, mind you) very large iguanas darted across the track in front of me. They had been sunbathing on the side of the track and conveniently camouflaged right into the gravel and grass. I know my adrenaline kicked in, I'm pretty sure I jumped, and there is speculation that the security guard near the gate heard me yelp. (The later is all hearsay and gossip, of course.)
On my running routes in Minnesota and Wisconsin the only thing I had to worry about looking out for were cars and leashless dogs. I suppose this is a good reminder to start preparing again for random attacks from, well, anything.
Next year I'll ask the guards to start shooting at me if I start looking bored maybe...