Grand Cayman Blue Iguana
Scientific Name: Cyclura Lewisi
Average Life Span: Up to 70 years
Size: 5 ft in length
IUCN Red List Status: Endangered
Current Population Trend: Increasing
About the Grand Cayman Blue Iguana
The blue iguana, also known as the Grand Cayman ground iguana, Grand Cayman blue iguana or Cayman Island rock iguana, is an endangered species of lizard endemic to the island of Grand Cayman. Previously listed as a subspecies of the Cuban iguana (Cyclura nubila), it was reclassified as a separate species
in 2004 because of genetic differences discovered four years earlier.
The blue iguana is one of the longest-living species of lizard (possibly
up to 69 years).
The preferred habitat for the blue iguana is rocky, sunlit, open areas in dry forests
or near the shore, as the females must dig holes in the sand to lay
eggs in June and July. The blue iguana's herbivorous
diet includes plants, fruits, and flowers. Its coloration is tan to
gray with a bluish cast that is more pronounced during the breeding
season and more so in males. It is large and heavy-bodied with a dorsal
crest of short spines running from the base of the neck to the end of
The blue iguana is the largest native land animal on Grand Cayman with a total nose-to-tail length of 5 ft and weighing as much as 30 lb. It may be the heaviest species of iguana and most massive lizard in the Western Hemisphere. Its body length is 20–30 inches with a tail equal in length. The blue iguana's toes are articulated to be efficient in digging and climbing trees. Although not known to be arboreal, the blue iguana has been observed climbing trees 15 feet and higher. The male is larger than the female by one third of his body size. The mature male's skin color ranges from dark grey to turquoise blue, whereas the female is more olive green to pale blue.
In prior years, the blue iguana was critically endangered and down to single digits left in the wild. Captive breeding and release programs have increased the numbers into the hundreds and upgraded them to endangered. The cylura lewisi hybrid is a mix of a cuban rock iguana and a grand cayman blue iguana and is the only legal type of grand cayman blue iguana allowed to be kept in captivity in the US.