Iguanas in florida
Did you know that there are several different species of Iguana, three of which have made South Florida their home?
It is important to recognize the differences as each species display distinctive behaviors.
Green Iguana (Iguana Iguana)
Large lizard, not native to Florida. Hatchlings and juveniles display a bright green coloration. Adults can range in color from green to brown to almost black.
During breeding season (Late fall/early winter), mature male iguanas take on an orange coloration, along with their heavy jowls and dewlap, in order to attract mates. Here in South Florida, there appears to be larger populations near and around bodies of water. Each female green iguana can lay up to 70 eggs annually.
Iguana feces can contain salmonella, which becomes a big health risk for humans and pets, especially if the feces is located in and/or around pools.
Mexican Spiny-tail Iguana (Ctenosaura Pectinata)
These iguanas get their name from the distinctive ridged scales on their tails. They are typically brown or grey brown in coloration with a yellow ventral (abdominal) surface.
These iguanas are great climbers and prefer a rocky habitat with crevices to provide shelter. They are opportunistic feeders, primarily herbivorous, however will eat small animals, eggs, and arthropods (insects).
Typically more aggressive* than the Green Iguana and will bite and scratch if cornered so practice caution when approaching.
Black Spiny-tail Iguana (Ctenosaura Similis)
They are difficult to distinguish from Mexican Spiny-tails, but Ctenosaura Similis has 0-2 scales separating the short crest along the back and tail, 2 complete rows of intercalary scales between the whorls of enlarged scales on the tail, and dark dorsal crossbands.
Black Spiny-tail Iguanas are primarily terrestrial animals and like to dig burrows. Here in South Florida, these burrows can be found under structures such as houses, sheds, beside pools and seawalls. They are very alert and agile and typically dash to burrows at the first sign of danger.
Similar to their relative Mexican Spiny-tails, Black Spiny-tails will scratch or bite if cornered.