Scientific Name: Iguana Iguana
IUCN Red List Status: Least Concern
Current Population Trend: Unknown
Green, or common, iguanas are among the largest lizards in the Americas, averaging around 6.5 feet long and weighing up to 20 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. Many captive male iguanas can become extremely aggressive during breeding season, which is another reason owners try to get rid of them. Females can get grumpy in season as well, but are prone to health problems such as egg binding. Iguanas need higher humidity than many owners can provide which leads to health issues from chronic dehydration.
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.
Strictly 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
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.
The common green iguana breeds rapidly, laying anywhere from 20 to 70+ eggs per clutch every year. They are invasive in many tropical countries and islands, and in southern Florida. In some countries, the main reason for culling this species is because they breed with other types of iguanas have almost completely wiped out the bloodlines of some species.
Source: National Geographic