Range & Habitat
These arboreal lizards are frequently seen in large trees with dense canopies, usually hanging over water, throughout their range in South America, Antilies and the Virgin Islands. They have even now been introduced to the Florida Keys, where they are thriving.
Iguanas are commonly sold as pets, but are not recommended for a beginners due to their aggressive nature as adults. Natives use them as a food source. Dogs are trained to hunt them down and circle the tree until the iguana becomes too dizzy to hold on and falls from the tree. Their long, flexible tail has multiple uses. Iguanas are actually accomplished swimmers and use their tails as a rudder. The tail is also used to lash out at an enemy. As with some other lizards, the iguana can lose part of its tail and regenerate it, but mostly with scar tissue.
Reproduction & Growth
Females lay about 24 eggs each spring and they hatch in May. Adults can reach lengths of 4-6 feet, including the tail, and weigh as much as 30lbs.
In the Wild: Primarily fruits and vegetables, but may feed on young birds, mice and worms. In the Zoo: Mostly greens and mixed vegetables, but also a variety of fruits.