Friday, March 2, 2012

Meet the Iguana

Popular as exotic pets the world over, iguanas are perhaps as abundant now in introduced environments as they are in their native ranges.
There are only two species of iguana; the Lesser Antillean iguana and the green iguana. Green iguanas are by far the more common of the two, though they come in many colors other than green. These large lizards have a native range that stretches from southern Mexico through most of South America. However, in recent centuries they have become established in the wild as far north as Florida and Texas due to pet owners unlawfully releasing them. Green iguanas can survive in any humid environment above 79 degrees, and former pets often thrive under the right conditions.

Most green iguanas grow to a total length of about 5 feet. They are herbivores and must eat a specific mixture of leafy greens, fruits, and vegetables to remain healthy. Iguanas are primarily diurnal, which means they are active during the day, and have eyesight that can detect ultraviolet rays; important for finding the warmest place to sun themselves and regulate body temperature.

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