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Iguana Facts

Size Up to 6.5 ft (2 m)
Speed Up to 22 mph (35 km/h)
Weight Up to 20 lb (9 kg)
Lifespan 15-20 years
Food Omnivore, plants, insects, snails
Predators Falcons, eagles, snakes
Habitat Central and South America, Europe, Central Asia
Class Reptiles
Order Scaled reptiles
Family Iguania
Scientific name Iguanidae
Characteristics Lizard with a particularly long tail

Main Characteristics

Iguanas are reptiles with impressive caudal and dorsal spines and a so-called dewlap on their throat. This is a kind of skin fold consisting of fat tissue. Their tail is often longer than their actual body.


How Many Iguana Species Do Exist?

There is a controversy between scientists, which animals really belong to the family of iguanas. This is the reason why the number of iguana species keeps changing from time to time. Currently, we reckon that there are about 40 species – such as bright green iguanas living in the tropical forests of South America. In the USA, desert iguanas brave the drought and heat. On the Galapagos Islands in the Pacific Ocean there are black iguanas – the Galapagos marine iguana.

Iguana Iguana - Photo: Silke/


Senses and Abilities

Do Iguanas Change Their Color?

Yes, and their ability is very similar to that of chameleons. Male Green iguanas change their colors to impress females. During the mating season they are colored bright orange.

Are Iguanas Good Swimmers?

Even if you might not expect this from those animals, they are very good at swimming and can even hold their breath for 30 minutes.

Iguana Iguana - Photo: Silke/

Enemies and Threats

What Do Iguanas Do When Feeling Threatened?

Iguanas are obviously rather bold: If they feel threatened and want to make an escape, they even jump from a tree directly into the water if necessary. They even do this from a height of 40-49 feet (12-15 meters) and mostly do not even get hurt.

Iguana Iguana - Photo: Silke/


Anatomy and Appearance

The Largest Leguan

Iguanas mostly are fairly small reptiles – at least compared to crocodiles. The largest is the Green iguana. Its body does not grow longer than 18 inch (5 cm), but with its tail it can get longer than 6.5 feet (2 meters) and it can reach a weight of 22 lb (10 kg). One of the smallest iguanas is the Yucatan spiny-tailed iguana. It measures about 9.8 inch (25 cm) from head to tail.

The Rhinoceros Iguana Has “Horns”

The rhinoceros iguana has got its name because of the little horns on its head. Yet, these are so small that you hardly can recognize them as horns. It has not been clarified what they are good for.

Iguana Iguana - Photo: Silke/


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