The Iguanas of St. John

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Iguana                     photo by Gene Pollard

Iguanas are reptiles found in the Caribbean, Madagascar, Fiji, The Galapagos Islands and Tonga.
Baby iguanas are bright, almost florescent green while adults range from a dark green to brown and black.
The iguana's skin is rough and has pointed scales on the back of the neck.

THE GREEN IGUANA or Iguana iguana is a lizard that lives in a tropical rainforest climate and habitat.
They are active during daylight hours. Males can grow to 6 feet in length and females can grow to 4 feet Iguanas
are found in Central and South America and in countries as far away as Fiji and Papua New Guinea.
Their daily life consists of finding a sunny spot to bask in, eating, and avoiding predators.


                                             Iguana                   photos by Gary Beckwith

Iguanas use visual signals to communicate with each other.  They are believed to communicate through a series of rapid eye movements which are easily noticed by other iguanas because of their excellent eyesight. Iguanas can become aggressive without warning so monitoring an iguana's body language is very important to prevent bites. 


Iguana Baby    photos by Rick Falkenberg


                    Iguana Baby   photo by Lisa Crumrine
The young iguana are bright green color which helps to camouflage it's body within the bright green leaves of the lower canopy of the rainforest. Quick movements and excellent eyesight help the young iguana avoid capture. As the iguana grows and matures, it loses it's bright green color and becomes a more muted green.

The larger iguana prefers a different habitat...the higher, less dense, less humid environs of the upper canopy. Being "cold-blooded", the iguana must heat it's body to a high temperature daily. In the morning, the iguana ventures into the sunlight to take in the sun's warmth. The sun provides the iguana with another important service. The heat from the sun helps the iguana digest it's previously eaten meal. Once heated, the iguana can move more quickly and spends a good part of the rest of the day foraging for leaves, tender shoots, and fruit. Later in the day, the iguana will bask again and perhaps go for a quick swim in a nearby river, before returning to it's protected resting spot high in the trees.
 
photo by Gary Beckwith
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