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What Is an Iguana?

Learn facts about iguanas from the animal experts at traveling petting zoo Squeals on Wheels in this Howcast video.


Hello, my name is Jill Phillips, and I'm co-owner of Squeals on Wheels, a traveling petting zoo and pony rides. My name is John Phillips. We have horses, miniature horses. We have miniature llamas and alpacas, chickens, ducks. We have bearded dragons. Our website is

The green iguanas is the most common of all the iguana pets in the United States. Iguanas come from the rainforest area in Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean Islands. They can grow to be quite large, and you really have to realize this for an iguana. Iguanas can get over six feet tall and weigh over 11 pounds, and they do this quite quickly. They require a cage size that fits the iguana. When they're small, they're a couple of inches long, you buy a small cage, and you think it's nice until it's about three months old, and it gets bigger. You need to replace the cage — it's very expensive. You need a UVB light, you need a warming light, and you need different size cages. As part of living in the rainforest, they like to live near water. They swim very well, and if chased by a predator in trees, they usually jump down from the tree into the water and swim away. One of the problems with iguanas that most people don't know besides their growing size, is they do have razor sharp teeth, and unless their accustomed to humans from a young age, they tend to bite. And their jaws are very strong, and the razor sharp teeth can really injure you. Iguanas like other lizards use their tail for a defensive purpose, in that they actually swing their tail, which is usually over half the length of their body, and they use that as a weapon. Additionally as a defensive characteristic, an iguana actually can drop off their tail. Their tails, like other lizards, have different sections that are made as soft tissue sections, where they can release their tail. If a predator chases, chases an iguana it will grab onto its tail, the tail will drop off and the iguana can go off and escape. This iguana actually had its tail dropped off as you can see, it's kind of a stub, but it will grow back. Iguanas tails do grow back, and they look a bit different after they grow back, but it's a natural occurrence for the iguana escaping a predator.

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