The green iguana (Iguana iguana), also known as the common green iguana or the American iguana, is an arboreal, large, primarily herbivorous species of lizard of the family Iguana. Usually, this creature is called the iguana.
Green iguanas are arboreal, diurnal and are mostly observed near water. Active climbers, Iguana iguana, can fall up to 15 m (50 feet) and land unhurt. During wet weather, cold, green iguanas prefer to live on the ground for better warmth. When drifting and swimming, an iguana remains submerged chiefly, letting its four legs dangle limply against its side. They move through the sea with great tail strokes.
The green iguana extends over a large geographic area; it is native from Paraguay and southern Brazil to as far north as Mexico, and has been injected from South America to Puerto Rico and is very common throughout the archipelago, where it is colloquially known as “bamboo chicken” or “chicken of the trees” (gallina de Palo) and considered an invasive species; in the United States, wild populations also exist in Hawaii, South Florida (including the Florida Keys), the U.S. Virgin Islands and Texas’s Rio Grande Valley. Green iguanas have also happily colonized the Anguilla island, arriving on the island in 1995 CE after adventurously rafting across the Caribbean from Guadeloupe.
Anatomy of Green Iguanas
The green iguana is a giant lizard and is presumably the largest species in the iguana group, though some in the genus Cyclura may exceed it or at least match in weight. Adults usually grow to 3.9 to 5.6 ft (1.2 to 1.7 m) in length from tail to head. As in all iguanas, the tail holds much of this length, and the snout-to-vent size of most green iguanas is (2 to 17 in (30 to 42 cm). An average adult male will weigh around 8.8 lb (4 kg), while the smaller adult female will normally weigh 2.6 to 6.6 lb (1.2 to 3 kg). A few large males can reach or exceed 13 to 18 lb (6 to 8 kg) in weight and 6.6 ft (2 m) long. Some specimens have been reportedly measured at a bodyweight of greater than 20 lb (9.1 kg).
Despite their specific name, green iguanas can come in different types and colors. In southern nations of their range, such as Peru, green iguanas appear bluish in color with bright blue markings. On islands such as Curaçao, Bonaire, Grenada, and Aruba, a green iguana’s color may range from lavender to green, reddish-brown, and even black.
Green iguanas from the western coast of Costa Rica are red, and animals of the northern ranges, such as Mexico, look orange. Young green iguanas from El Salvador are often light blue as babies, but they lose this tone as they age.
Adult iguanas, seen on most of St. Lucia, principally on the northeastern coast, Grand Anse and Louvette, have numerous differences from other green iguana populations. They are light green with dominant black stripes. Rather than the usual orange dewlap, St. Lucia’s iguanas have a black dewlap. Compared to the green iguana, females lay about half the amount of eggs, 20 instead of 40. Scales to the back of their head, near the jawbone, are more minor. Their iris is cream or white, whereas other green iguanas have yellowish irises.
Green iguanas maintain a row of spines along their tails and backs, which shields them from predators. Their fascinating whip-like tails can be utilized to deliver painful strikes, and like many other lizards, when held by the tail, the iguana can enable it to break, so it can leave and eventually reconstruct a new one. Also, iguanas have a well-developed dewlap, which helps control their body temperature.
Green iguanas have sharp vision, allowing them to detect motions and shapes at large distances. As green iguanas have only thin rod cells, they have bad vision in low-light conditions. Simultaneously, they have cells called “double cone cells” that enable them to see ultraviolet wavelengths and give them a sharp color vision. This ability is handy when basking, so the animal can ensure that it absorbs enough sunlight in UVB and UVA forms to create vitamin D.
Green iguanas have incredibly sharp teeth that are capable of shredding stiff leaves and even human skin. These teeth are shaped like a leaf, flat and broad, with serrations on edge.