Interesting facts about green iguanas

green iguana

The green iguana also known as the American iguana is the best-known species of iguana.

Usually, this animal is simply called the iguana.

It is native to Central and South America.

The green iguana ranges over a large geographic area, from southern Brazil and Paraguay to as far north as Mexico and the Caribbean Islands.

In the United States, it exists as feral populations in Florida, Hawaii and the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.


The lifespan for the green iguana is about 20 years in the wild.

It is the longest species of iguana. It grows to 1.5 metres (4.9 ft) in length from head to tail, although a few specimens have grown more than 2 metres (6.6 ft) with bodyweights upward of 9 kg (20 oz).

The green iguanas are so named because they are mostly green. The green may be deep and dark, pale and multi-hued, have greater or lesser amounts of blue or gray and may have bold or subtle striping, or subtle or bold blotches.


Green iguanas possess a row of spines along their backs and along their tails that helps to protect them from predators. Their whip-like tails can be used to deliver painful strikes and, like many other lizards, the tail can break off when grabbed, allowing the iguana to escape.

They have excellent vision, enabling them to detect shapes and motions at long distances.

Green iguanas have a white photosensory organ on top of their heads, that’s nicknamed a “third eye”. This eye doesn’t function like a regular eye because it doesn’t have a lens. The iguana can’t technically see out of the eye, but it can sense movement, and changes in light. The eye is very helpful to iguanas, as they can spy on predators who could attack from above.


Green iguanas are diurnal, arboreal, and are often found near water.

They are primarily herbivores, with captives feeding on leaves such as turnip greens, mustard greens, dandelion greens, flowers, fruit, and growing shoots of upwards of 100 different species of
plant. In Panama, one of the green iguana’s favorite foods is the wild plum.

Agile climbers, Iguana iguana can fall up to 15 m (50 ft) and land unhurt (iguanas use their hind leg claws to clasp leaves and branches to break a fall).


When swimming, an iguana remains submerged, letting its four legs hang limply against its side. They propel through the water with powerful tail strokes.

While they may often be found in trees, these animals are well-known burrowers. The size of their burrow can range from between 0.3 and 2.4 m (1 to 8 ft) deep, with a diameter of 10 to 20 cm
(4 to 8 in).

Green iguanas are oviparous, with females laying clutches of 20 to 71 eggs once per year. The female green iguana gives no parental protection after egg laying, apart from defending the nesting burrow during excavation.


The hatchlings emerge from the nest after 10–15 weeks of incubation. Once hatched, the young iguanas look similar to the adults in color and shape, resembling adult females more so than males and lacking dorsal spines.

Juveniles stay in familial groups for the first year of their lives. Male green iguanas in these groups often use their own bodies to shield and protect females from predators and it appears to be the only species of reptile which does this.

Commonly found in captivity as a pet due to its calm disposition and bright colors, it can be very demanding to care for properly. Space requirements and the need for special lighting and heat can prove challenging to the hobbyist.


Because of the green iguana’s popularity in the pet trade and as a food source in Latin America, they are listed on the CITES Appendix II, which means that while they are not an endangered species, “their trade must be controlled so as to not harm the species in the future”

The Moche people of ancient Peru worshipped animals and often depicted green iguanas in their art.

The green iguana has been used as a food source in Central and South America for the past 7,000 years.

Today, green iguanas are bred and raised on farms in Central and South America to be eaten by people.