Green Iguana

Green Iguana

Reptiles

SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION

COMMON NAME: green iguana, common iguana
KINGDOM: Animalia
PHYLUM: Chordata
CLASS: Reptilia
ORDER: Squamata
FAMILY: Iguanidae
GENUS SPECIES: Iguana iguana (West Indian for lizard)

FAST FACTS

DESCRIPTION: Arboreal; earthy green lizard with transverse bands on the body and tail; short, powerful limbs; sharp claws; long, strong tail; large flap of skin (dewlap) that hangs from throat and helps to regulate temperature; prominent crest of soft spines along the middle of the neck and back, beginning at base of the skull
MALE Males typically have brighter overall coloration than females
SIZE:  
MALE 120-195 cm (4-6.5 ft) as adults
FEMALE Slightly smaller than males
WEIGHT: 4.5-6.75 kg (10-15 lb.)
DIET: Omnivorous as young but adults are almost exclusively herbivores; fruits, flowers, leaves; insects and snails opportunistically; young iguanas eat more insects and shift to 95% vegetation as they age
INCUBATION: 60-85 days
CLUTCH SIZE 10-50 eggs
SEXUAL MATURITY: 2 years; males sometimes longer (need longer period of growth in order to be large enough to compete for females)
LIFE SPAN: 15 years
RANGE: No data
HABITAT: Tree dweller in tropics; trees/bushes close to water in tropical rainforests; prefers temperatures in the upper 90s (Farenheit)
POPULATION: GLOBAL No data
STATUS: IUCN No data
CITES Not listed
USFWS Not listed

FUN FACTS

1. Iguanas are able to hold their breath for up to 30 minutes.
2. They will often jump from tree to water using their powerful tail for swimming to escape. They are also able to leap down 40-50 feet without injury.
3. To attract a mate, mature males may turn orange during breeding season.
4. Iguanas store large amounts of fat in their lower jaw and neck area in order to survive times of famine. The pouch at the base of their neck is called a dewlap, and is used in display.
5. Their tail has weakened vertebrae so the iguana can break free and escape if caught by the tail. Iguanas are also able to whip their tail in defense, leaving behind a stinging welt or worse.

ECOLOGY AND CONSERVATION

Iguana meat is a valuable source of protein; theoretically, farming iguanas could yield more meat per acre than cattle, while requiring only 70% of what a chicken consumes. With the loss of habitat due to deforestation, iguana farming research is on the rise.

Iguana eggs are also considered a delicacy in the tropics, coining the term "chicken of the tree."

Although not listed as endangered or threatened, populations are under pressure from both habitat destruction and their popularity in the pet trade.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Although not listed as endangered or threatened, populations are under pressure from both habitat destruction and their popularity in the pet trade.

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

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

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

Halliday, Tim R., and Adler, Kraig. The Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians. New York: Equinox Books, 1986.

Roberts, Mervin and Martha D. Roberts. All About Iguanas. T.F.H. Publications, Inc., New Jersey. 1976.