Scientific Name: iguana iguana
Habitat: tropical rainforest
Diet: mainly fruit, vegetables; also insects
Life Span: 10 years
Young: 3 – 10 young
Size: 101 – 200 cm

The Green Iguana inhabits a large area of Central and South America, from the States of Sinaloa and Veracruz, in Mexico, south to the Tropic of Capricorn in Paraguay and southeast Brazil. It also inhabits many islands throughout the Caribbean and the coastal eastern Pacific. Having been introduced into both Florida and Hawaii, it is now the largest known lizard to occur within the United States.

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 some in South America, with proper diet can reach up to 8 kg. These large lizards can reach head to tail lengths of around 2 m.

Despite their name, Green Iguanas vary in colour between green and brown. Mood, temperature, health, or social status can also cause a difference in their colour. Six to eight weeks before and during courtship, males may turn a bright orange or gold colour. For the most part, females tend to be green. Green Iguanas have a dorsal crest made up of dermal spines that runs from the mid-neck to the base of their tail. Green Iguanas can grow to be up to 2 meters long.

The Green Iguana is an excellent climber, and an excellent swimmer. Though they prefer to live high in the tree canopy, where they can easily bask in the sun, they also like to have water nearby.

For more information about the Green Iguana visit Animal Diversity Web, or visit the Edmonton Valley Zoo!