arrow-downarrow-leftarrow-rightarrow-upchevron-upchevron-leftchevron-rightchevron-upclosecomment-newemail-newfullscreen-closefullscreen-opengallerygridheadphones-newheart-filledheart-openmap-geolocatormap-pushpinArtboard 1Artboard 1Artboard 1minusng-borderpauseplayplusreplayscreensharefacebookgithubArtboard 1Artboard 1linkedinlinkedin_inpinterestpinterest_psnapchatsnapchat_2tumblrtwittervimeovinewhatsappspeakerstar-filledstar-openzoom-in-newzoom-out-new

Green Iguana

View Images

Green iguanas have strong jaws with razor-sharp teeth and sharp tails.



About the Green Iguana

Green, or common, iguanas are among the largest lizards in the Americas, averaging around 6.5 feet long and weighing about 11 pounds.

In Captivity as Pets

They are also among the most popular reptile pets in the United States, despite being quite difficult to care for properly. In fact, most captive iguanas die within the first year, and many are either turned loose by their owners or given to reptile rescue groups.

Range and Habitat

The green iguana’s extensive range comprises the rain forests of northern Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean Islands, and southern Brazil. They spend most of their lives in the canopy, descending only infrequently to mate, lay eggs, or change trees.

Behavior

Primarily herbivores, iguanas are active during the day, feeding on leaves, flowers, and fruit. 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 40 feet and survive.

Defensive Adaptations

Iguanas' stout build gives them a clumsy look, but they are fast and agile on land. They 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.


WATCH: Why This Invasive Lizard Is Bad for Puerto Rico

Originally brought to the island as pets, the lizards now outnumber people and are wreaking havoc on agriculture, infrastructure, and even air traffic, causing millions of dollars in damages. Since the reptiles have no natural predators in Puerto Rico to control the population, conservationists are seeking alternative ways of combating the problem.