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Green iguana

(Iguana iguana)

The green iguana lives in warmer places of Central and South America – mainly in treetops. They like to be near water as they are excellent swimmers. If in danger, they go into the water and defend themselves by swinging their tail and biting. An adult male, including its tail, can be up to 2,20 m long and can weigh up to 10 kg. The female is usually smaller than the male. When they are younger there is no difference between the male and the female. They can reach the age of 20.


These herbivores mainly eat plant leafs. In our zoo, we feed them with special iguana food, however, they are also fed with salads, dandelion, leafs of mulberry, clover, broccoli, mangold, pepper, and string bean. We occasionally give them boiled macaroni. They also like to eat garden flowers although in small quantities. Water and vitamins must be always at their disposal.


Their skin can be green, blue and brown. Their skin is covered with tiny flakes of skin. Their skin in dry and coarse.


It´s interesting that they slough in stages – they don´t remove their entire skin at once. If they lose their tail – left behind in danger or lost due to accident – it grows back on. Their tail has a lot of strength; they can break the terrarium – if it isn´t made of toughened glass.
Their double chin, located under their head, regulates the temperature and reveals their mood. Scientists recently revealed it also produces small quantities of poison – not harmful to human. They also have a vertical or third eye for detecting enemies from above. Their tongue is slightly sticky and is used for feeding. They have strong jaws and 120 little teeth. These teeth are razor-sharp. They smell very good.
They have different personalities. This is a strong and independent animal which reacts exaggeratedly. They protect their territory. Because they live in treetops, they sometimes fall 15m deep but have no visible injuries. A male hatches 10-15 eggs. They need a constant temperature of 24-28 °C and a hotspot of 36-40 °C.
Iguanas are protected, as their habitat is constantly shrinking and because people hunt them to sell them to Europe as pets. In some countries, they are a culinary delight. That is why they are on CITES´ (prohibited hunting and trading of these animals and their eggs) list.

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