Chasing “chicken of the tree”

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book release
Chuck Meier is releasing an iguana cookbook in 2018.

Key Wester Charles “Chuck” Meier knows iguanas. He knows the details of hunting, cleaning, catching and cooking the invasive species. And, he says that Hurricane Irma didn’t help one bit with the population, saying it’s about to boom like never before.

“South Florida is in an explosion right now,” he said. “After the storm, they are even more prominent. This is the beginning of a real iguana invasion and what we have seen in the past is nothing compared to what is coming.”

This is breeding season, Meier said of the aggressive iguanas he gets called to remove from people’s homes as a pest exterminator. He added that the next three months the egg-bound females will be digging up yards to bury the eggs – one of their favorite places to lay is underneath the tombstones at the Key West Cemetery.

As a proponent of eating the “chicken-like” iguanas, and the eggs, as well as eradicating the invasive species from South Florida, Meier’s 75-page guide to catching, cleaning, cooking and eating iguana, “Key West Iguana Killer’s Club” is set to be on bookstore stands in January.

The Russians even know about it. Meier was just featured on a Russian television show where the host was reluctant to try the iguana at Jose’s Café in Key West. “She did it, though,” he said. The five-minute video walks viewers from the hunt to the kitchen.

“Hunting iguana is not illegal, it’s actually promoted,” he said, although he said he still gets threats via his Facebook page. “In the Keys, it’s a Catch 22 with iguanas. You either love them or you hate them; there is no in between.”

The original story was published Sept. 1 and can be found at KeysWeekly.com by searching “iguana.”

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