Green Iguana One

Green Iguana Mating Pair

Mating pair of Green Iguanas found off the porch of our main building.  Ramon captured this photo last week.

The Green Iguana or Common Iguana (Iguana iguana) is a large, arboreal herbivorous species of lizard of the genus Iguana native to Central, South America, and the Caribbean. A herbivore, it has adapted significantly with regard to movement and body temperature regulation as a result of its diet. It generally grows to almost five feet in length from head to tail with body weight upward of 20 pounds.

Green Iguanas are daytime animals that live in the trees and are often found near water. Ours are agile climbers, as we are observing them on the branches of trees for the most part. An Iguana iguana can fall up to 50 feet and land unhurt by using its hind leg claws to clasp leaves and branches to break a fall.

Despite their name, Green Iguanas can come in different colors. In Costa Rica they tend to have red coloring, in Mexico it is an orange coloring. Here in Bocas del Toro, the coloration is normally green with orange coloration coming out during mating season. Mating season in Bocas del Toro hits around the end of March or the beginning of April and lasts for about a month.

Iguana iguana have a row of spines along their backs and along their tails which helps to protect them from predators. Their whip-like tails may be used to deliver painful strikes and like many other lizards, when grabbed by the tail, the iguana can allow it to break, so it can escape and eventually regenerate a new one. In addition, iguanas have well-developed dewlaps which helps regulate their body temperature. This dewlap is used in courtship and territorial displays.

Green Iguanas have very sharp teeth that are capable of shredding leaves and even human skin. These teeth are shaped like a leaf, broad and flat, with serrations on the edge. The teeth are situated on the inner sides of the jawbones which is why they are hard to see in smaller specimens.

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