Iguanas might not be the world's most popular pet, not by a long shot, but for humans who have had their hearts stolen by this interesting reptile, there will never be any other pet for them. Iguanas forever!
Here are ten facts that most people don't know about iguanas and five myths that we needed to bust.
15 Fact: The iguana has a third eye
Iguanas have a third eye! Who knew? The iguana's retina-like structure can be found on top of their head and is connected to the pineal gland in the brain. This third eye doesn't form images, like the animal's other two eyes, but the third eye does reflect light and can be used to detect predators that might be lurking above the ever-aware iguana.
14 Fact: They can get big...really big
Iguanas can get pretty huge! By the time they reach three years of age, they are considered full grown, which means that they can reach lengths up to seven feet! That's a professional basketball player!
13 Fact: It has the tail of a super-creature
If an iguana were to be a superhero, it's tail would be its special weapon. The tail of the iguana is pretty amazing. It is used to "punch" enemies and considering that it is very long and very sharp, it can do a considerable amount of damage to any predators that have set their sights on the iguana. They can even detach their tail when they need to quickly escape the threat of danger.
12 Fact: Iguanas are not scoring the 'Parent of the Year' award
As amazing as these creatures are, they won't be earning the title of 'Parent of the Year' any time soon. Female iguanas spend about ten to fifteen weeks pregnant before laying anywhere from twenty to seventy-one eggs. After mama iguanas lay their eggs, they take off and leave the eggs to fend for themselves. The little iguanas do get a bit of the family experience as they spend the first year of their lives with their reptile siblings.
11 Fact: They can survive great falls
Iguanas spend the vast majority of their lives up in the treetops of tropical rainforests. While they are pretty adept at staying firmly rooted to branches forty to fifty feet above the ground, iguana falls do occasionally happen. Iguanas can fall from these steep heights and survive without injury. That's pretty incredible!
10 Fact: Iguanas are great in the water
Iguanas are often found nearby bodies of water, and because of this environmental component, they have adapted to many elements of aquatic life. The iguana can spend up to twenty-eight minutes under water before having to come up to breathe. It can also inflate itself and float around, using its own body as a floatation device. Seriously, what can't these things do?
9 Fact: Some cultures consider iguana meat a delicacy
Many countries and people in South America, Mexico, and the Caribbean consider iguana meat to be a culinary treat! The green iguana is served up as a dish called "Bamboo Chicken," or included in stews, tacos or moles. It can also be roasted or sauteed and then served to those who are adventurous to give it a try. Iguana eggs are also considered a novelty dish.
8 Fact: There are three main types of iguanas
Generally speaking, there are three primary types of Iguanas. The green iguana, the marine iguana, and the desert iguana. The green iguana is commonly located in Mexico, South and Central America and the Caribbean islands. The marine iguana is black and found around the Galapagos Islands, and the desert iguana stays put in arid areas of the southwestern United States and Mexico desert.
7 Fact: Iguanas have excellent eyesight
Iguanas might be hidden away in the foliage of the rainforest and therefore difficult to spot, but chances are they see you just fine. These giant reptiles have excellent vision. They can even see ultraviolet wavelengths.
6 Fact: Iguanas are incredibly smart
Iguanas are not the first animals that come to mind when we think of brilliance in the animal kingdom. They are, in fact, incredibly intelligent animals, especially given the small size of their brains. Iguanas have been known to respond to their owner's toilet training lessons, can be taught a variety of tricks and have even been trained to find their way home when they lose their way. Wow! I can barely get my children to flush the toilet.
5 Myth: Iguanas move slowly and are cumbersome
They look large, menacing and cumbersome, and you might not expect an iguana to move very quickly, but they might surprise you with how fast they can run. These reptiles are stealth and steady creatures that can go from Point A to Point B shockingly quick.
4 Myth: Iguanas are dangerous
They look like miniature dragons that could eat your face off if they wanted to do so, but the idea that iguanas are menacing or threatening is totally false. These guys are actually pretty docile creatures who prefer to lay around, basking in the warm light. They are also vegans, so the only things that they might attack are fruits and leaves.
3 Myth: Iguanas are easy to care for
One misconception that many people hold is that iguanas are simple to care for as pets. While they can live for twenty years in the wild, their lifespans are much shorter when they live their lives as pets. Iguanas will end their own life if they feel as if they are not properly cared for by their owner! Most pet iguanas die within their first year of life when they are raised in captivity.
2 Myth: Iguanas need gravel to digest their food
Not sure where this myth came from, but iguanas do not need to ingest gravel to get their meal through their digestive system. In truth, introducing anything but what is in the iguana's normal diet can cause serious harm to the animal.
1 Myth: Iguanas only grow to fit the size of their cage
Lots of people think that keeping an iguana in a small cage will keep it staying small in stature. The truth is that if iguanas are properly cared for, then they should reach five to seven feet in length.