A man in Boca Raton, Florida taking a smoke break witnessed an epic battle to the death between two local wildlife dwellers — a raccoon and a green iguana. The man also captured the violent encounter on a 37 second video that has since gone viral, reports the New York Post.
In the footage, you can see that the two creatures are obviously not pals, perhaps because iguanas are an invasive species and the raccoon is not happy with the lizard and his kind moving into his territory. Then again, the raccoon may just be looking for a quick meal. After all, raccoons are opportunistic and omnivorous eaters.
The footage starts out with a raccoon chasing after the hapless lizard. Iguanas are no slouch when it comes to defending themselves — they have a mouthful of teeth and can swat offenders with their formidable, scaly tail. However, it’s clear from the beginning that the reptile is no match for the much larger mammal.
Viewers can additionally see the iguana has already lost part of its tail during a previous skirmish with the masked creature. Maybe the raccoon disarmed the scaly weapon early on in the battle. During a pan out on the video, you can see the lizard’s striped tail that’s been separated from its body twitching violently on the pavement, almost as if it has a life of its own.
A man in the video that’s obviously not rooting for the raccoon yells, “Get ’em! While another man replies, “Oh no, he’s going.” Then, a man is heard asking someone, “Should I should stop the fight?” Afterwards, another guy yells, “Yo! Let him go, dog!” The men then discuss between themselves how the lizard is a goner.
At the end of the video, the raccoon grabs the iguana by the neck and looks defiantly at the onlookers as if to say, “I’m leaving, and I’m taking my snack with me!” He then drags the gasping reptile by the neck and scurries away underneath the cover of cars parked in the parking lot.
Speaking of snacks, iguanas are consumed by a variety of predators other than raccoons. Feral cats, owls, snakes and hawks love to chow down on the cold-blooded creatures. Even humans eat them, and iguanas are raised in Puerto Rico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America for food. What’s more, iguana meat is said to have a rich and cheesy flavor.
Iguanas are part of 500 invasive species that live and thrive in the state of Florida. Most of the green iguana population was released into the wild by irresponsible pet owners and started showing up en masse in the 1960s. The lizards breed rapidly, and females can lay up to 70 eggs a year.
Today, the bright green reptiles are a scourge to South Florida homeowners because packs of them swarm seawalls and roam around in parks and people’s yards. In addition, the unruly lizards often leave paths of filth and destruction after they occupy areas.
That being the case, maybe we should root for the raccoon or any other critter that’s involved in killing and eating the pushy transplants. By the same token, some connoisseurs in Florida, per the Sun Sentinel, hunt the invasive lizards and use them for food. Here’s a few notes on how to hunt them, and a recipe for iguana meat in the video below.
However, it’s wise to introduce a note of caution for people that intend to consume any “chicken of the trees” harvested from the wild. Nuisance iguanas are sometimes poisoned, even though doing so is illegal. Before consuming wild iguana meat, ensure it doesn’t contain harmful substances or poisons.