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Green iguana
Iguana iguana

At 6.5 feet in length, green iguanas are among the largest lizards in the Americas. Their tails, which make up almost half of their length, can be used to deter predators and will detach if they are caught. Iguanas can regenerate their tails.

Green iguanas are primarily herbivores and spend the majority of their time in the wild in the canopy of trees eating leaves and fruit. Because iguanas don't hatch with the proper bacteria in their stomachs to digest plant material, they need to eat leaves with droppings from adult iguanas in order to ingest the bacteria.

While they are extremely agile and quick on land, green iguanas are also excellent swimmers and will jump into water to avoid predators.

Females generally lay up to 65 eggs about 65 days after mating, but they can store sperm for quite a long time, allowing them to fertilize eggs at a later date. The eggs are deposited into nests in the ground. Mothers do not care for their young. Instead, juvenile green iguanas are independent from the time they hatch.

Green iguana
© MSA 2005

Range: Mexico, Central and South America
Habitat: open tropical forests and scrub
Range Map
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