By Austin Quivey
Green, or common, iguanas are among the largest lizards in the Americas, averaging around 6.5 feet (2 meters) long and weighing about 11 pounds (5 kilograms).
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.
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.
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 (12 meters) and survive.
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.
Other members of the iguana family include the Fiji Island banded iguana, the desert iguana, and the Galápagos Islands marine iguana. Their appearance, behavior, and endangered status vary from species to species.
Iguanas have excellent sight allowing the iguana to detect movement from incredibly long distances. The iguana can use this skill to seek out prey and be aware of approaching predators often before the predators has even noticed the iguana.
It is said that the iguana uses visual signals to communicate with other iguanas. The iguanas do this through a series a rapid eye movements that other iguanas are able to pick up on easily due to the excellent sight of the iguana.
Green Iguanas are forest dwelling lizards that live high in the tree canopy of the South American rainforest. Young iguanas get to grips with tree top living by staying in areas lower in the canopies while older mature adult iguanas reside higher up in the tree tops. This tree dwelling habit allows the iguana to bask in the sun, with little need to go down to the forest floor below. The only real exception to this is when the female iguanas must come down from their sky high home in order to dig burrows in which the female iguanas lay their eggs.
Although iguanas tend to prefer the forest environment, iguanas can adjust well to a more open areas. However, wherever the iguanas inhabit, iguanas prefer to have water around them as iguanas are excellent swimmers and will often dive beneath the water to avoid oncoming predators.
Although iguanas are classed as omnivores, most iguana individuals in the wild, tend to enjoy a very herbivorous diet, with ripened fruit being one of the iguanas favourite foods along with leafy green plants. Most mature adult iguanas weigh around 4 kg, but it is not uncommon for large, healthy iguanas where food is in good supply, to weigh up to 8 kg and grow to over 2 meters in length.
Due to the natural green and brown colours of the scales of the iguana, iguanas are easily able to make themselves invisible to predators. Iguanas do this well as the iguana blends extremely effectively into the surrounding forest and the iguana will then remain extremely still until the predator has passed. Iguanas will often chose basking spots on those tree branches that hang over water so that if the iguana does feel threated, the iguana can leap from the tree into the water and therefore the iguana can quickly escape oncoming danger.
Iguana Comments (27)
"I enjoy this its a fairy good wep I like the animals my brother making his own book about animal this animal wep is maybe getting me a new zoo or a pet chinchilln well im not having a zoo im a kid! I just wanna pet. :D C:"
Denver William Hallman
"This article was great . It just needs a little more information about the iguanas in other areas . This article made me get a new green friend"
"Iguanas are a bit scary-looking but they are really interesting"
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