Cuban Iguana

Cuban Iguana

Reptiles

SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION

COMMON NAME: Cuban iguana, Cuban rock iguana
KINGDOM: Animalia
PHYLUM: Chordata
CLASS: Reptilia
ORDER: Squamata
FAMILY: Iguanidae
GENUS SPECIES: Cyclura (rounded tail) nubila nubila

FAST FACTS

DESCRIPTION: Cuban iguanas have a long, straight tail; short, powerful limbs; sharp claws; a large flap of skin called a dewlap hangs from the throat area and assists in temperature regulation. Their colors range from dark grays to light browns with some noticeable banding.
SIZE: Up to 1.5 m (5 ft.) in length
WEIGHT: Up to 7 kg (15 lb.)
DIET: 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.
INCUBATION: 3-4 months; females guard their nests for months after the eggs hatch
CLUTCH SIZE 2-17 eggs; females excavate burrows about 0.9 m (3 ft.) in length, and lay their eggs at the end of the tunnel; Cyclura eggs are relatively large for lizard standards
SEXUAL MATURITY: 5-9 years
LIFE SPAN: Approximately 15 years
RANGE: Native to the island nation of Cuba
HABITAT: 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.
POPULATION: GLOBAL No data
STATUS: IUCN Vulnerable
CITES Appendix I
USFWS Not listed

FUN FACTS

1. The Cuban iguana is a subspecies of West Indian rock iguana.
2. Iguana's store large amounts of fat in their lower jaw and neck area in order to survive periods of famine.
3. The iguana's dewlap helps to regulate body temperature and is used in threat and courtship displays.
4. 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.
5. 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.

Cyclura are potentially important seed dispersers for native plants.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Barlett, R.D. and Patricia P. Bartlett. Iguanas. New York. Barron's. 1995.

Burghardt, Gordon M., and Rand, Stanley A. Iguanas of the World. New Jersey: Noyes Publications, 1982.

Flank, Lenny Jr. Herp Help. 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. 1997.

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