Although called green iguanas, these animals are actually variable in color. The adults become more uniform in color with age, whereas the young may appear more blotchy or banded between green and brown. Active dominant iguanas usually have a darker color than lower-ranked iguanas living the same environment. Distinguishing features of this species include a pendulous dewlap under the throat, a dorsal crest made up of dermal spines that run from the mid neck to the tail base, and a long tapering tail. The dewlap is more developed in adult males than females. Within three years, a young, 12 gram hatchling iguana can become a 1 kg adult (de Vosjoli, 1992). Upon hatching, the length of green iguanas ranges from 17 to 25 cm. Most mature iguanas weigh between 4 and 6 kg, but with proper diet can reach up to 8 kg. These large lizards can reach head to tail lengths of around 2 m. Iguanas can live for more than 20 years in captivity, although wild iguanas are thought to live only about 8 years.
Green iguanas have good senses of hearing and smell, and superb vision. Their long tail is also quite sharp, and is snapped in the air as a defense mechanism. The tail can also break off if caught by a predator, but grows back without permanent damage however not to the same length as the original. When frightened, an iguana will usually freeze or hide.
Green iguanas tend to live alone, but may be seen in groups occasionally in good sunny
Iguanas are diurnal, meaning that they are awake during the day.
Photograph by Douglas Butler
Lady Chancellor Hill, Port of Spain
Some of the information for this page was obtained from: Gingell, F. 2005. "Iguana iguana" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Iguana_iguana.html.
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