Iguanas possess a row of spines that run from the tip of their heads to the base of their tails. Discover facts about iguanas with information from a published biologist in this free video on lizards and reptiles.
Here, we have a green iguana. Its scientific name is Iguana iguana. They are found in Central and South America, from Southern Mexico to Central Brazil. This is a very large lizard. They can grow from four to six feet, and they can actually weigh up to twenty pounds. In captivity, they can live up to twenty years, and in the wild, up to eight. The green iguana possesses this row of spines from the tip of its head down to the base of the tail. They use these spines for protection against predators. They have these wonderful claws which are quite sharp, and they use them to climb trees. They also use this long tail that they have to climb trees and for balance. The tail actually has multiple purposes. It can be used to deliver a very powerful strike to predators, and also, it's a defense mechanism. Like many lizards, the iguana has the ability to drop a portion of its tail off so it can escape while the predator eats the tail. The iguana also has this dewlap, this piece of skin just below its neck, which it uses to regulate its body temperature, it uses in courtship display, in courtship and territorial displays as well. The size and number of eggs that a female can produce depends on her maturity and size. They can produce anywhere from ten to thirty eggs. The green iguana is omnivorous. They eat both plant and animal material, but when they're younger they like to eat insects, and as they age they eat more plant material. A very interesting fact about this a green guana is it has a parietal eye on the top of its head. It's also called the third eye, and it doesn't work in quite the same way a normal eye does. It has a very rudimentary lens and a very rudimentary retina; however, it can see differences in color, and it can see differences in light and movement, and it helps the iguana when its being stalked by aerial predators. This is a green iguana.