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Friday, Feb. 27, 2015
Dragons do exist!Posted Sunday, February 5, 2012, at 8:05 PM
We couldn't believe it, when we saw this enormous iguana on the grounds of Fort Zachary Taylor in Key West, Florida several weeks ago. He was at least three feet long and 18 inches tall at the head. He did not seem afraid of us, but we gave him a wide berth.
There's lots to see at Key West, Florida, but my friend and I never expected to see this wonderful creature, when we went exploring at an old fort on the coast.
Fort Zachary Taylor was built in 1845. It was used as an outpost by the Union in Civil War and and was heavily-used in the Spanish American War in 1898. Most of the Civil War cannons were buried to make room for more modern weapons, but the cannons were later excavated. It is the nation's largest collection of civil war cannons.
The naval station on Key west was decommissioned in 1974.
None of this information explains why there is a 3 1/2 foot iguana living on the grounds of the park. I'm not sure if he's one of those semi-tame creatures like the little squirrel who ate peanuts out of my hand in Ft. Myers--or if he was totally wild, but we stood and photographed him for twenty minutes, before moving on to see the fort.
I googled iguanas and found that the orange color may signify that he's a male looking for a female. I hope he finds one, and I hope he's safe in that environment. What does he eat? Is he protected? I worry too much about things like that. There was no one out there to ask. The fort seemed well-cared for, but there was no one on duty.
The Keys are a wondrous place, full of exotic color and unusual customs. Of all the outlandish and foreign sights we saw, this orange dragon was by far the most mysterious and strange.
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Madeline (Giles) DeJournett is the Advance writer for the North Stoddard Countian. A retired high school English/history teacher, she spent 32 years teaching in 5 schools in Missouri and Alaska. These days, she lives quietly with a menagerie of wild and domestic animals on 52 secluded acres in the remote Tillman hills south of Advance. She graduated from Dexter High School in 1960 and Southeast Missouri State in 1964. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 573-722-5322.
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