Charles plucks up courage to pet Peter the rare blue iguana
The Prince of Wales plucked up the courage to stroke one of the Cayman Islands’ famous blue iguanas – but first asked the press “is he dangerous?”
Charles petted the animal, one of the rarest reptiles in the world, after the photographers and journalists told him it was safe.
The encounter happened at the National Trust for the Cayman Islands’ Blue Iguana Recovery Centre at the end of the prince and Duchess of Cornwall’s 12-day tour of the Caribbean.
Charles asked the media “have you all posed up with him?” after he came across Peter on display for him.
The 15-year-old reptile looked a little unsettled by the cameras and press attention and Charles questioned the press again, saying “Is he OK? Is he dangerous?” and got a chorus of “no” from everyone.
When a keeper explained that when riled the reptile packs a bite, Charles smiled and stroked Peter.
Blue iguanas are only found on the island of Grand Cayman and once numbered in the tens of thousands, but the population was decimated by cats, dogs, rats and people.
By 2001 fewer than 25 individuals were estimated to remain in the wild but under the programme their numbers are now in the hundreds.