The Green Iguana (Iguana iguana) is also known as the American Iguana, or just Iguana. It is a large arboreal lizard, native to Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. It is a reptile.
The Green Iguana is not always green. It can be various colours, such as blue, purplish, and pinkish. It is a strong, stout-bodied lizard, with a row of spines on its back and tail to protect itself from predators. Its tail can be ‘dropped’ to allow it to escape danger. The tail can be regenerated (re-grown).
It has white or cream-coloured eyes, and sometimes yellow eyes – with excellent vision. Under its neck is a dewlap (loose skin) to help regulate its body temperature.
It can grow to about 150 centimetres (58 inches) long.
It is diurnal (active during the day) and arboreal (living in trees) in countries such as Mexico, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Paraguay, Bolivia, and the Caribbean. It prefers to live near water.
It is an excellent climber. It uses its hind (back) legs, with strong claws, to clasp branches of trees. In winter, it prefers to stay on the ground where it is warmer. It is also a good swimmer, staying submerged, moving through the water using its powerful whip-like tail.
It is herbivorous, eating leaves, flowers, and fruit. The Green Iguana has very sharp teeth for shredding leaves. Its teeth are flat with serrated (saw-like) edges.
Females lay about 25 eggs. It is oviparous. The young hatch after 10-15 weeks. The young stay close to their parents for the first year of their lives.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM