FORMER DUPONT PRESIDENT ONCE TRAINED ATTACK IGUANAS TO KILL ON COMMAND
So this is some history I wasn’t at all familiar with. Irénée du Pont was the president of the massive company, DuPont. He was also head of the family trust. So he was a man of means for years. But he was also an extremist politically, was a racist and ardent anti-semite. While that doesn’t necessarily stand out for a powerful figure who lived from 1876-1963, Irénée du Pont was one of those obscenely wealthy people who went beyond the pale. One of his personal hobbies was to train a bunch of attack iguanas to kill on command.
DU PONT TRAINED ATTACK IGUANAS AT HIS PRIVATE CUBAN PALACE, XANADU
So if that seems a little strange, it’s because it’s really, really strange. Irénée du Pont is a little window into another time, where training attack iguanas would normally be the affectation of a Bond villain. Yet Irénée took period clichés all the way. He built a palace in Cuba he called Xanadu. Because of course he did. And it was at Xanadu that he collected a lot of iguanas and literally trained them to attack a target at his command. So if you can picture a man surrounded by 3-foot lizards and fearing for your life, it was actually a reality.
ONE COMMAND ASSEMBLED ATTACK IGUANAS, AND ANOTHER ONE WOULD MAKE THEM KILL
Simply by barking out a command, Irénée could get his menagerie of iguanas to come out of their pens and make a defensive circle around him, at attention! And with another command, these lizards would kill whoever he told them to. As you might imagine, Cubans at the time were appalled at the rich man’s degenerate lifestyle. News of this history has come out with many more details in Gerard Colby’s book, Du Pont Dynasty: Behind the Nylon Curtain. If attack iguanas are just a hook, I wonder what else is in that book?