The Attack-Trained Iguanas of Irenee du Pont

Irénée du Pont was president of the Du Pont Company from 1919 to 1925, and remained on its board of directors until 1958.

He built a mansion named Xanadu down in Cuba, where he trained iguanas to attack and kill on his command. Details from Du Pont Dynasty: Behind the Nylon Curtain by Gerard Colby:

the most bizarre of Irénée's pastimes was his large collection of iguanas. Irénée spent thousands of dollars to breed, feed, and keep these crocodile-like lizards in specially constructed pens. Some of these tough, vicious lizards grew to 3 feet in length under Irénée's loving care, and more than once the old industrialist was seen marching about with one of these ugly beasts crawling next to him on a leash. Irénée derived a peculiar kind of pleasure from these lizards. By barking a command, he could make them all come out of their pens and surround him, standing at attention. He had trained them, on another command, to attack a target to kill. It was an appalling example to the Cubans of the degeneracy of the idle rich. In a moment of the bizarre captured for history, a Life photographer in 1957 recorded old Irénée feeding his iguanas papaya from a jar at a time when most of the Cuban population was suffering from malnutrition.

"Irénée du Pont, 80, bends to pat an iguana on his Cuban estate where many of these lizards wander. He feeds them papaya from jar he holds"
Life - Aug 19, 1957

     Posted By: Alex - Wed Sep 08, 2021
     Category: Animals | Eccentrics

In retrospect, could this have been the inspiration for this famous episode of JONNY QUEST?
Posted by Paul on 09/08/21 at 07:03 AM
See? The rich are different from you and me...

It sounds like I. DuPont was the poster child for Alzheimers Dementia, or inspiration for Ernst Blofeld.
Posted by KDP on 09/08/21 at 10:31 AM
If you wrote a story containing attack iguanas, editors would laugh you out of their office.
Posted by Phideaux on 09/08/21 at 11:21 AM
Attack and kill what? I suspect something smaller than humans.
Posted by ges on 09/08/21 at 08:39 PM
That horrible man feeding the lizards the abundant wild fruit instead of feeding lazy non grazers. I bet he paid the person who went into the jungle and brought out a pile of papayas. Yellow Journalism never fails to stand out like a sore thumb. Now the MSM stands out like lepers hands that end at the wrist....
Posted by John on 09/09/21 at 11:41 AM

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