Green Iguana

Common Name: Green Iguana, Common iguana

Type: Reptile


Range: The green iguana is a reptile that is found mainly in rain forests of northern Central America, several parts of Costa Rica, Mexico, the Caribbean Islands, and southern Brazil.

The green iguanas can reach to a length of 6.6 (2 meters). However the normal size of an adult mail would be 120-195 cm (4-6 ft). The female are smaller than males.

Weight: It is weighing from 4.5 – 6.75 kg (10-15 lb)

Diet: The green iguanas are Herbivore. Their main diet includes leaves, flowers, vegetable and fruits.

Average life span: The average life span of green iguanas in the wild is about 20 years.

Habitat: The green iguanas are Tree dweller in tropics; bushes and trees close to water in tropical rainforests. They prefer temperatures in the upper 90s (Fahrenheit). They usually live in tropical rainforest usually 40-50 feet above the ground. Green Iguanas are available in Costa Rica and if you are traveling around Costa Rica you must see them.

Breeding/Reproduction: The iguanas are mature in the age of 2 years; males sometimes longer (need longer period of growth in order to be large enough to compete for females.

Interesting Fact: In Central America, iguana meat is commonly consumed; iguanas are referred to as “chicken of the trees” or “bamboo chicken”. Iguanas can hold their breath for up to 30 minutes.

Green Iguana (Iguana iguana) or the Common Iguana has a big number in the species of lizard under the Iguana genus. Derived from the word Iwana, a Spanish of the Taino name of their species, are also called gorrobo or ministro (males) and iguanita or gorrobito (young) in Spanish speaking countries. They are commonly located in Southern Mexico to central Brazil, Paraguay, and Bolivia and the Caribbean and Costa Rica.

They are one of the most popular reptile pets in the United States, despite being pretty difficult to care properly. In fact, most captive iguanas die within the first year, and many are either turned loose by their owners or given to reptile rescue groups. They normally live near water and are exceptional swimmers. If threatened, they will jump from a branch, often from great heights, and escape with a splash to the water below. They are also tough enough to land on solid ground from as high as 40 feet (12 meters) and survive.

A regular green iguana can measure 1.5 meters (4.9 feet) in length up to more than 2 meters (6.6 feet) and can weigh 20 pounds (9.1kg) or more. Usually, they are found near water during the day. Swift climbers, green iguanas have no problem in falling from a 50 feet height since they use their hind leg claws to grab onto leaves branches to avoid the harsh fall. They like to stay on the ground to warm themselves during the cold and wet seasons. They use their tail to move in water as they keep themselves submersed.
Ironically, green iguanas are not really just green. They come in the color blue with black markings in Peru. Meanwhile in Bonaire, Curacao, Aruba and Grenada, one can be seen in lavender and surprisingly, pink in color. In the western parts of Costa Rica and Mexico, these reptiles have red and orange exteriors respectively.

For protection purposes against predators, they use their tails as whips and sever it when a threat grabs a hold of it. The spines on their back up to their tail serve as protection also. Green Iguanas have great vision, allowing them to see objects from afar, moving or not. They can see ultraviolet wavelengths (for basking) but unfortunately, they cannot see well in the dark. A photo sensory organ is on the top of their head acting like a third-eye. It cannot form images but is sensitive to light for detecting movements from aerial threats. Their teeth are so sharp that even human skin can be torn. These can be seen on the inner side of the jawbones.

When there is an assailant, Green Iguanas will run, towards water to dive in if possible. When there’s nowhere else to go, they will show the dewlap under their necks, muscle up their body while hissing and jerk their head against the enemy. Their tail, teeth and claws serve as their weapons when the enemy still linger. The Green Iguanas show their dewlaps and bobbing of head for courting a mate also or recognizing another iguana.

They are considered as Herbivores in nature. Mainly their main diet includes leaves, flowers, vegetable and fruits. They need a 2:1 ratio of calcium to phosphorus in their natural diet. Young Green Iguanas eat the dung of the mature ones for digestion (vegetables are hard to digest for the juveniles).

Green Iguanas main predator is the hawks. The hawk’s screech freezes the iguana and becomes more vulnerable.

Green Iguanas are often treated as pets because of their vibrant colors. They are not aggressive towards human so many opted to consider them as great exotic pets. To keep them as pet, all you need to have are appropriate lighting, heating and normal space for the iguana to be comfortable. Presently, they are not included in the endangered species list. However, their trade must be regulated to prevent declining numbers in the wild.

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