Green Iguana

Biological classification

Class: Reptilia

Order: Squamata

Family: Iguanidae


Green iguana is a large lizard, up to 2 m in length and weighing from 4 to 8 kg. The color of the skin of young individuals is bright green. The color of the skin of adult iguanas varies depending on the habitat of the population and the physiological state of the animal and may be greenish-olive, greenish-brown, greenish-creamy, blue-greenish, and the like. On the back there are transverse dark stripes with a light fringe. Under the powerful iguana chin hangs a slightly compressed on the sides throat bag which is particularly pronounced in males. One row of flexible "spines" lines along the back. .

Distribution and mode of life

The species is common in Central and South America from Mexico, south to Paraguay and south-eastern Brazil. This large lizard also lives on many islands throughout the Caribbean and the coastal east Pacific. Also, this species was introduced to certain regions of North America.

The iguanas of this species conduct a semi-dwarf lifestyle in densely vegetated biotopes (wet and semi-voluminous tropical forests, mangrove thickets), in open dry areas of the seacoast. Swim and dive well.


The iguana's usual diet depends on its age. Adult Iguanas are mostly herbivores. Their main diet is green leafy plants and mature fruits. For the first two or three years organism of young iguanas has a higher need of protein that is why they also feed on insects, spiders and small invertebrates in addition to a plant food.


Green iguanas reach sexual maturity in average at the age of 2-4 years. The mating season lasts for 1-3 months, mating takes place in males territory for about 3-7 weeks before laying eggs. The female lays eggs only once in a season, 5-8 times in a lifetime (Muller, 1972).

Egg laying occurs in the driest season of the year, at the highest level of sun exposure, while hatching, on the contrary, is timed to the rainy season.

Females choose open spaces for laying eggs (grassy areas or the edge of sandy beaches) where they dig a fairly large hole of up to 1 m in length. During construction process males guard the territory.

The laying consists of 10-65 oblong white or cream-white eggs. Finishing the laying, the female paws the hole with sand or earth, leaving an aperture for air. During the incubation, which lasts from 90 to 120 days, the temperature in the nest remains almost constant and equals 28-32C. The development of embryos proceeds synchronously, and hatching of youth occurs simultaneously; after hatching they are independently selected to the surface. Newborn Iguanas are from 17 to 25 cm in length.

Environmental protection status

The species is listed on CITES 

In Kyiv zoo green iguanas live in Island of Animals exposition and in the "Desert" pavilion

Green Iguana