Iguanas are a types of lizards.
Iguanas have strong jaws with razor-sharp teeth and sharp tails, which make up half their body length and can be used as whips to drive off predators.
They can also detach their tails if caught and will grow another without permanent damage.
Iguanas usually prefer to live alone.
Life span is from 4 to 60 years, depending on species.
The longest of the iguanas is the green iguana. It grows to between 1.5 to 2 meters (5 and 7 feet) long from nose to tail.
The heaviest iguana is the blue iguana. It can weigh up to 14 kilograms (30 lbs.)
The smallest of the group is the spiny-tailed iguana, which grows to 12.5 to 100 centimeters (4.9 to 39 inches) long.
Different iguana species look and act so differently, you might not recognize them as members of the same family.
Variety of habitats made each iguana species has its own unique adaptations.
For example the marine iguana of the Galápagos Islands is a skillful swimmer, and its black coloration help it to warm its body after swimming in the cold ocean. In contrast, the green iguana is at home high in the trees of a tropical rain forest.
Iguanas are mainly herbivorous, meaning they mostly eat plants. Specifically, they are folivores (an animal that feeds on leaves). In the wild, they feed almost entirely on the leaves of trees and vines, plus some fruits or flowers that are not readily available to pet owners.
The marine iguana of the Galápagos Islands dives in the ocean to scrape algae from rocks.
In Central America, where iguana meat is frequently consumed, iguanas are referred to as “bamboo chicken” or “chicken of the trees.”
Green iguanas are bred and raised on farms in Central and South America to be eaten by people.
Iguana’s are very independent, curious, and sometimes territorial aggressive creatures.
They generally live near water and are excellent swimmers. If threatened, they will leap 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 12 meters (40 feet) and survive.
Most male iguanas are extremely territorial, fighting viciously with any other males that venture into their territory.
The exception is the marine iguanas of the Galápagos Islands, which sleep or sunbathe in large groups without conflict.
The females of most iguana species lay all of their eggs in a hole they dig in the ground called a burrow.
Sometimes, they dig more burrows than they use to trick animals that may want to eat their eggs.
The temperature in the burrow stays a fairly constant 25 to 32ºC (77 to 89ºF).
After a female iguana lays her eggs, she never returns to the hole.
The warm temperature incubates the eggs.
The eggs hatch by themselves, and babies will grow up without parents.
On their own, iguana hatchlings face many dangers.
The word “iguana” is derived from the original Taino name for the species, iwana.
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.
Marine iguana will only stay submerged for a few minutes, but they have been known to stay underwater for periods as long as 45 minutes before resurfacing to breathe.
Marine iguanas sneeze 🙂 They sneeze because while they eat they swallow saltwater. Once they are back up on land they need to get rid of all that salt. They do that with the help of their salt-excreting glands. As they sneeze, out comes the saltwater.
Iguanas are among the most popular reptile pets.
Iguanas are among the world’s most endangered animals. The threats they face include severe habitat degradation by human development and invasive species, as well as harvesting for human use. Because iguanas are important seed dispersers for many native plants, their protection is vital to ecosystem health.