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4 Cool Facts about Green Iguanas

Learn four cool facts about green iguanas from reptile and amphibian expert Jungle Bob in this Howcast video.


Iguanas are types of lizards. There's a huge family of lizards out there that are known as iguanas. There's desert iguanas in the American southwest. There's the Galapagos iguanas out on those islands. Then there's the common green iguana that many of you have encountered before in your lives.

Anybody who's taking a trip to Central South America or even some of the islands in the Caribbean, you've been introduced by green iguanas. Anybody living in Florida certainly knows about green iguanas because they've been let loose in Florida in massive numbers, and they now have procreated and inhabit almost every corner of that state.

Green iguanas are really a magnificent creature that are arboreal in nature, meaning they love to be in the trees. The green iguana whose up really high looking down on you is a calm, easygoing creature.

A green iguana on the ground, however, is a different story. Green iguanas feel trapped when they look up at someone approaching them, and they have a bunch of weapons that makes them a formidable animal to deal with.

Number one, when they get upset, they whack their tail, like that. Thank you very much. Right on cue. Whack their tail. If you come close to them, they'll bite and defend themselves. If they can't do that, they'll try to rip you with their hind legs, like so. They have formidable claws, and they're extremely powerful.

Green iguanas are abundant throughout their terrain. People in Central America actually use iguanas as food. They call them chicken of the forest. They're apparently quite tasty. I wouldn't know.

Green iguanas are plentiful. That giant dewlap there, that big piece of skin protruding from the bottom, tells me that you have a small male here. That's just like our Anole friends. Iguanas use that dewlap to show that they are the biggest iguana in the area, or to show a mate how colorful they are.

They'll stay green until about seven years old. Then the males, which will have giant crests on their back, turn a beautiful orange-y color, and that's when they become a mature iguana.

Iguanas are plentiful. There's many different species. Another is the rock iguana that you'll see throughout the Caribbean islands, Jamaica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic. It's a heavy-bodied animal. Usually very dark in color. They're close cousins, but the green iguana is the one most people are familiar with. Isn't that right?

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