Black Iguana

Common Name: Black Iguana, Black Spiny-tailed Iguana, or Black Ctenosaur

Type: Reptile

Family: Best guesses are Iguanidae

Range: The Black Iguanas are resident of Central America and has the widest range of all Ctenosaura species from Greece to Mexico and to the north of Nicaragua and west side of Panama on particularly Pacific and Atlantic coasts. Black Iguana is commonly available throughout Costa Rica

Size: The adult males are capable reach to a length up to 1.5 meters (4 ft 11 inches) and females are 1 meter (3.3 inches) slightly shorter to males.

Weight: It can weight close to 9-11 pounds (5 kilograms), like green Iguana.

Diet: Black Iguanas are herbivorous, that includes leaves, flowers, fruits and stems. However, they can eat smaller eggs, animals, arthropods, fish and birds. They depend mainly on herbivorous as they become older.

Average life span: As they are the cousin of Green Iguana. It is believed that their life span is around 20 years in wild. However, the exact details are not known.

Habitat: Black iguanas spend more time on the ground than in trees, though they are excellent climbers when the need arises. Young black iguanas also stay up off the ground more, probably to avoid being eaten by larger specimens. Black Iguanas could be found throughout the Costa Rica and the country’s national parks.

Breeding/Reproduction: These oviparous Black Iguana lay clutches of 20-30 eggs in filthy soil. The young’s are 6-7 inches at the time of hatching. Mating usually occurs during the spring time. Males demonstrate their dominance and interest by head nodding; ultimately the male will pursue the female until he catch her and suppress her. Within 8 – 10 weeks, the female will dig a nest and lay clutches of up to 30 eggs. These eggs hatch in the period of 90 days and the hatchlings dig their way out of the sand. These are normally green with brown marks, though all brown hatchlings are recorded as well.

Quickest among all lizards in the planet, the Ctenosaura similisor commonly known as Black Iguana (Black Spiny-tailed Iguana or Black Ctenosaur) are endemic in Mexico and Central America. “Ctenosaura” is a combination of two Greek words: cteno meaning “comb”, noticeably in the Black Iguana’s spiny back and tail, and saura which means lizard. On the other hand similisis the Latin word for “similar to”.

Black iguanas look impressive with bold bands and spiny bases of their tails, so many are tempted to assume they are just like green iguanas in temperament and behavior. Baby spiny-tailed iguanas are also bright green like green iguanas, but that color fades quickly as they grow. Nervous and flighty, they do not make very good pets as a rule.

Black iguana comes in a very large size. Iguanas are among few species that are very active. They cannot be a good pet since they require a lot of care during handling.

They become very quick to their size. Black Iguana male have a dorsal crest and small dewlaps. Female iguanas do not have crest. Usually it is hard to differentiate between the male and female. They develop into sexually matured at about the age of 4-5 years.

In the natural environment black iguanas get warm up naturally under the sun. Normally this reptile spends their whole morning for relaxing in the temperate after a cool night.

Having the most population in Ctenosaura genus, a Black Iguana has extraordinary scales on their lengthy tail which made them known for as they are. Speaking of length, males can mature up to 1.5 meters while the females can only reach up to 1 meter. Pointy spines near their head up to the back are also distinguishable. Color varies among their group; grayish are commonly noticed among adults. Around their head and throat with a little touch of blue and peach around their jaw, the color orange will appear among males.

With the speed of 21.7 mph (34.9 km/h), Black Iguanas are good it escaping any threat. They bite and use their tail as weapon if they have nowhere else to run. Stony environment is what they consider as their home. Preferably these places have little gaps in them so that they can hide and rocks to “sunbathe” on as we humans do. They are outstanding in climbing trees too. Black Iguanas fancies flowers, leaves, stems and fruits, but there are cases that they eat little creatures, eggs and arthropods. It was noted that these reptiles are herbivores first and carnivores/insectivores after.

The diversity of wildlife in Costa Rica is outstanding, with 109 different species of mammals, over 352 species of exotics birds and an irresolute figure of marine species.

The black iguana, green iguana, and several other species are common throughout the Costa Rica. Manuel Antonio National Park is also having these species. Barra Honda National Park and the whole Puntarenas province of Costa Rica are having these species.

Spring is the breeding season for the Black Iguanas. Males court by bobbing their heads and can also mean that they want to dominate the chosen partner. After much chasing, the male will very much like to restrain the female. The female then will dig up her nest and lay up to 30 eggs during a span of eight to ten weeks. In three months, the eggs will hatch. The young ones will crawl their way up to the surface having the color green and brown marks as they hit the sunlight.

They are not reportedly extinct even though they are usually farmed and treated as pets.

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