The green iguana (Iguana iguana) is a large, arboreal, mostly herbivorous species of lizard of the genus Iguana. Otherwise known as the American iguana or the common green iguana.
Distribution and Origin
The green iguana ranges over a large geographic area, from southern Brazil and Paraguay as far north as Mexico and the Caribbean Islands. It is native to Central, South America, and the Caribbean. In South and Central America, where the green iguana is native, it is an endangered species due to hunting. However, in many other locations such as St. Maarten, the green iguana is considered an invasive animal.
Green iguanas are mainly herbivores, it has adapted significantly with regard to locomotion and osmoregulation as a result of its diet. Green iguanas have been recorded to eat grasshoppers, and tree snails, however they generally eat leafy greens, flowers, fruit and other plant species.
Anatomy and Physiology
The green iguana is a one of the largest species in the iguana family, it grows to 1.5 meters in length from head to tail, although a few specimens have grown more than 2 metres with body weights upward of 9.1 kg. Green iguanas are generally a bright green color in their juvenile years, but as they age, their coloring changes and can be a variety of different colors.
Green iguanas are oviparous, the females lay their eggs in clutches of 20 to 71 eggs once per year. The female gives no parental protection after egg laying, apart from defending the nesting burrow during excavation. The hatchlings then emerge from the nest approximately 10-15 weeks of incubation.