Green iguana

Also known as the common or American iguana, these lizards are the largest lizards in their native central and South America.

They may look stout and clumsy…but they can certainly move when they want to.

Just like us, iguanas are diurnal. This means they are most active during the day and like to rest at night. Unlike us though, they’re arboreal. This means they like to hang out in trees. They’re never far from a water source and are great swimmers. They use the water to avoid predators.

Another way green iguanas have evolved to help them stay alive is that they have a row of spines down their back and tail which they use to defend themselves. The tail in particular is a very effective whip. Their colour helps camouflage them so they can ‘disappear’ in the undergrowth.

Conservation

Green iguanas are quite common in the wild and high in number. Other species, like the Fijian banded iguanas, are endangered.

Green iguana questions and answers

Do they have many predators?
They have a few. Hawks, owls, snakes, cats and humans.

How do they communicate?
One theory is through their eyes. You may spot an iguana moving its eyes really quickly. This is actually one iguana ‘talking’ to another.

How big can they grow?
They can weigh up to 4kg in weight and in some cases they have been known to weigh as much as 8kg and grow as long as 2m!

How fast can they run?
Believe it or not they have been recording running at 21mph. Usain Bolt has only clocked 28mph and he has much longer legs!

Zoo Membership

We're proud to be members of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) and the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA). Our membership means we share knowledge with leading zoos across the UK and Europe, and we learn from them too.