Invasive species | Reviews |

Castor oil kills iguanas.

Extract from the seeds of Ricinus communis plant, the liquid has many benefits for humans, such as curing eye conditions and inducing labor during pregnancy. But the oil that the ancient Egyptians burned as fuel for lamps is deadly to reptiles because it contains a toxic enzyme called ricin, which is deactivated by extreme heat during the production process, making it less deadly to life. human consumption.

I recently learned of the deadly use of castor oil at the farmers market, after joining a group of what appeared to be curious shoppers outside a popular stall. Waiting for the start of the day’s outdoor activities, in front of me were two couples – one swore allegiance to Florida, while the other was from Texas.

The middle-aged Florida woman casually discussed how iguanas are a nuisance in her gated community.

“They’re all over there,” she explained, adding that lizards tend to freeze and fall from trees at certain times of year in the Sunshine State. “They’ll kill you, if you’re not careful.”

An adult iguana can weigh up to eight pounds. I imagined a storm of comatose iguanas raining down on the pensioners like scale-covered bowling balls, hitting the thin-skulled ignoramuses in the back of the head.

That’s when the Florida woman’s husband stepped in.

“Castor oil,” he said of his home remedy. “I spread it on the lawn and found them dead a few days later.”

The brutality and pride of his assertion made his wife recoil, but all who heard him already knew that she was far from innocent in this strange and terrible affair.

“Or you can keep them in your freezer,” she said.

This piqued the interest of the Texas couple.

“Really?” the woman said in a typical Texas twang that sounded and settled in the ears like “rally?”

“Oh, yeah,” said the lizard woman. “Then you take them outside and they warm up and run away.”

She didn’t divulge more details, but the statement raised questions in my mind. How long does she keep iguanas in ice age purgatory? Does this relatively basic-looking couple have a separate fridge full of reptiles? Or do they store them next to their Atkins TV dinners and pints of dairy-free ice cream? Wondering what the iguana looks like?

Changing the subject before anyone could pin her to some type of carnivorous dinosaur, the woman explained how her next-door neighbor had an alligator problem, an unwanted byproduct of the hamlet’s man-made pond.

“They’re in their driveway all the time.”

I know for a fact that people eat gator there. Everyone says it tastes like chicken when done right. That’s when I realized I was among a really weird company.

The Texas couple, comforted that there are others, shared their flavor.

“We have armadillos,” the woman said.

Her husband became visibly irritated and changed his position.

“They are the worst,” he said. “They dig up our flowerbeds all the time. Now, do you dilute the castor oil? »

The Lizard King answered with a definite “no”, implying that such a concoction would only prolong the finality of death, and what’s the fun in that.

“OK, I’ll do that,” said the armadillo hunter.

The macabre conversation fell back to general banter.

“Where do you come from?” asked the woman from Florida.

“Wichita Falls,” said the other woman. “He calls it Dante’s Inferno, because it’s hotter than hell in the summer and cold as sin in the winter.”

The quartet chuckled at the tired literary joke, their long mouths opening eerily like pterodactyls.

“It’s so beautiful here,” she added, but there was no type of excitement or wonder in her gray irises, not even a glow or twitch; they were deader than a doll’s eyes.

Everyone agreed and took a moment to look at the surrounding mountains clad in a white blanket of fresh snow and the neon-colored trees actively shedding their dead appendages with the same gaze. Then the bell rang announcing the official start of the day’s Farmer’s Market. The newly discovered invasive species began touching and petting the fresh fruits and vegetables in front of them. No iguanas, alligator or armadillos were found that day. No dead flesh at all, to be sure.

Flustered, I quickly grabbed my organic produce, paid, and left, my frantic pace on the sidewalk returning to my hobbit hole slowed by a rout of giant snails. Without a trail of drool to warn me, I nearly bumped into the backs of the bipedal creatures in front of me. Completely unaware of anyone or anything around them, they squirmed forward in a shoulder-to-shoulder line like lazy Civil War soldiers. Don’t throw salt at them until you see the whites of their eyes.

Top scientists believe the sixth mass extinction event has begun. Another recent study found that a person is more likely to be bitten by another human on the New York City subway than to suffer a shark attack.

When I found my front door, I fell into a daydream about a giant Sherwin-Williams paint bucket covering the Earth in castor oil. Then I remembered what Uncle Chuck had said.

“Damn boring people. Everywhere on earth. Propagate more boring damned. What a horror show. The earth is teeming with it. »

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