The lizardicus Jamaicanus, or the Jamaican lizard, is a truly formidable reptile. Although the species typically grows to no more than 4 or 5 inches long, do not be fooled by its tiny stature. With no more than a twitch of its tail, and a blink of its eyes, this diminutive creature is powerful enough to petrify a perfectly healthy, full grown adult, male or female.
There are in fact twenty-two common types of this species. living in Jamaica. However, I shall introduce you to just two. The first is the lizardicus Jamaicanus greenicus, or the Jamaican green lizard. This type is the less fearful of the two, since it tends for the most part to live outdoors, in the trees, away from humans. However, it has been known on occasion to sneak stealthily into people’s homes through open doors or windows. The mere sight of this creature is certain to create mayhem and chaos as persons scramble to escape through the nearest doorway.
The second, more formidable type of this species is the lizardicus Jamaicanus croakitus terroristicus , commonly known as the croaking lizard. This type has a ghastly white translucent skin. Its croak, which some scientists claim is its mating call, is in fact its war cry, which it uses to warn all humans away from its newly claimed territory. Shrieks of terror are a certain sign that a croaking lizard is in the vicinity. Entire houses will be evacuated in fear and trembling until such a creature has been banished from the home.
Certain intrepid individuals will employ such means as broomsticks and rolled up newspapers to attempt to chase away, maim or even kill the creature as its presence can by no means be tolerated. Fortunately, actual attacks are, in fact, rare, although occasionally one will hear of the creature pouncing upon its unsuspecting victim without warning. The most heinous and vicious attack involves the creature landing upon a person’s head, and allowing itself to become entangled in their hair. Much screaming and crying and desperate hair cutting would have to be involved as brave rescuers attempt to release the victim from the clutches of the predator. Survivors will tell you that such an encounter scars them for life.
Indeed there is no lizard in the world quite like the Lizardicus Jamaicanus, as none of its cousins which reside in other parts of the world are able to inspire quite the same level of fear and terror as those that live in Jamaica. This Jamaican reptile is truly a remarkable creature.
“ Oy Basil, di soup ready?” asked Trevor, sniffing at the enticing scent wafting from the large cooking pot, where Basil was busy stirring.
“Yes man, yuh want some?” Basil replied. He picked up a styrofoam cup, scooped up some of the steaming liquid, and handed it to Trevor.
“Den nuh muss. Ah my favourite dis!” exclaimed Trevor, accepting the cup and pursing his lips to blow a stream of air into the top of the cup.
“Yah man. Ah real food dis! Me jus cyan understan’ all dem crazy tings people seh dem a eat. All alligaytah dem a eat now.” Basil shook his head, gave the pot an additional stir and poured himself a cup. “Eh, Miss Latty?”
A large woman in a bright floral print swayed into the kitchen balancing a stack of plates on her hands. “Maxine jus bring di plate dem, an’ Junior jus come.” Miss Latty informed them. “Di food soon ready?” She unburdened herself of her load with a loud clatter, and peered into the pots clustered on the stove top.
“Yah man. Dinner going to nice, nice.” predicted Basil with a grin. “So what you seh? You woulda eat some alligayta meat?”
“Nah sah” Miss Latty replied, making a face. “Neither dawg nor puss nor horse. How people cyan nasty suh?”
“Mi hear seh ah snail dem eat inna France. An some people all eat frog leg an call it wah? Spring chicken.” added Trevor.
The others burst into laughter. “Me never know nuttin coulda guh suh.” Miss Latty uncovered a pot. “Wah dis? Oxtail? Ah dat me love.”
“Oh? My auntie mek de bes’ oxtail you ever taste, but is cow head an bean. Now dat is fi har specialty. Is not any an’ everybaddy cyan cook like she.” said Trevor downing the last of his soup.
“Mi nuh really eat dat, but me woulda eat some cow tongue deh now. Ah long time me noh get dat fi eat.” said Miss Latty, picking up a large serving dish. “Mek me gwaan spoon out di rice an’ peas. Mmm… a waan pigstail dis? Ah fi mi own dat!”
“But how you mean?” exclaimed Basil. “you cyaan mek rice an’ peas widout pigstail. Dat ah di spice fi mek it nice!” he chuckled. “Nah sah. Me nah eat no nastiness like dem foreign people at all. Ah good Jamaican cookin’ me want. So who want some more mannish wata?”
photo credit: Renée S. Suen via photopin cc