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Cuban iguana, Cuban rock iguana
Cuban iguanas have a long, straight tail; short, powerful limbs; sharp claws; a large flap of skin called a
hangs from the throat area and assists in temperature regulation. Their colors range from dark grays to light browns with some noticeable banding.
Up to 1.5 m (5 ft.) in length
Up to 7 kg (15 lb.)
Cuban iguanas are omnivorous; they feed on fruits, flowers, leaves, insects, and snails. Young iguanas eat more insects and shift to 95% vegetation as they age.
3-4 months; females guard their nests for months after the eggs hatch
2-17 eggs; females excavate burrows about 0.9 m (3 ft.) in length, and lay their eggs at the end of the tunnel;
eggs are relatively large for lizard standards
Approximately 15 years
Native to the island nation of Cuba
This species prefers temperatures in the upper 90s. They sleep in burrows and other hiding places. They are often seen climbing trees, on the ground, and on limestone formations.
The Cuban iguana is a subspecies of West Indian rock iguana.
Iguana's store large amounts of fat in their lower jaw and neck area in order to survive periods of famine.
The iguana's dewlap helps to regulate body temperature and is used in threat and courtship displays.
When initiating an escape response, Cuban iguanas are known to jump from tree to water, using their powerful tails for swimming. They are able to leap from heights of 12.2-15.2 m (40-50 ft.) without injury. Iguanas are able to hold their breath for up to 30 minutes.
Iguana's tails have weakened vertebrae - if caught by the tail, an iguana can break free from its tail and attempt escape. Iguanas are also able to whip their tails in defense, leaving a stinging welt or more serious wound.
ECOLOGY AND CONSERVATION
The Cuban iguana, though not endangered, suffers from habitat loss and predation by introduced species such as cats, dogs, and pigs.
The Cuban iguana is the largest of the West Indian rock iguanas, the most endangered group of lizards in the world. Until recently, they were the largest native land vertebrates in the West Indies.
are potentially important seed dispersers for native plants.
Barlett, R.D. and Patricia P. Bartlett.
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Burghardt, Gordon M., and Rand, Stanley A.
Iguanas of the World
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Flank, Lenny Jr.
. New York: Howell Book House, 1998.
Halliday, Tim R., and Adler, Kraig.
The Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians
. New York: Equinox Books, 1986.
Lemm, Jeff and Allison Alberts.
Guided by Nature: Conservation Research and Captive Husbandry of the CubanIiguana
Roberts, Mervin and Martha D. Roberts.
All About Iguanas
. New Jersey. T.F.H. Publications, Inc. 1976.
IUCN SSC West Indian Iguana Specialist Group. scz.org/iguana/index.html