During my 1992 deployment to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, I witnessed three hutia, aka “Banana Rats”, pursue a single iguana through dense brush and off the edge of a 60-foot cliff overlooking the shoreline of the Bay.
A rather large iguana, the lizard landed with a resounding THUD on a large, flat rock just fifteen feet away from me.
I was certain the poor thing was dead, until, moments later, it turned itself over and crawled away. Verrrrrry slowly.
It was then I noticed the hutia trio emerge from brush at the same spot the iguana had fallen from.
Unwilling to make the same leap, the dead-eyed Banana Rats gazed after the hapless iguana for a moment from cliff’s edge, then returned to the brush, out of view.
Creepiest, yet most amazing thing I witnessed during my 3-month deployment there…
…on a par with being startled at 1 a.m. by the pink blur of a hairless cat, aka the Sphynx Cat, fleeing our barracks latrine in the Kuwaiti desert a few months later…
…but not nearly as much fun as being stalked myself by circling “turkey buzzards” (Turkey Vultures) during my one and only (unwitting) hike just fifty or so yards from the edge of a Gitmo coastline mine field.
When the buzzards had flown close enough for me to fully appreciate their eight-foot wing span, cruising just fifteen feet or so above my head, I decided I’d had enough.
Chucking a few rocks at them until finally tagging one of their wings– by pure luck, I’m convinced; throwing a rock nearly straight up into the air to hit a moving, albeit low-flying target, and hitting it, isn’t as easy as it sounds– I managed to discourage their adventurism.
The nasty looking birds returned to a higher altitude, patiently waiting for me to venture further inland and blow myself up.
Unfortunately for the buzzards, Navy Intelligence personnel intercepted me before I could manage that. Thank God for sonar technology!