Iguana iguana, 18 March 2017

Iguana iguana, the Green iguana;
Miami-Dade county, Florida (18 March 2017).

The Green iguana, cleverly named Iguana iguana, is a non-native species now quite abundant throughout much of the southern Florida peninsula. Growing upwards to four to five feet in length as adults, iguanas are surprisingly fast, strong, and agile. As for the individual featured here, this is a youngster found basking in Miami-Dade county. It was particularly vibrant. Those greens and blues tend to fade out and/or darken a bit as they grow older. Native to the northern portion of South America and much of Central America, Green iguanas are adept climbers, swimmers, and runners. Seriously, they can pretty much take off over or through any kind of habitat. Occasionally, in the winter you might hear reports of “raining iguanas” in the Miami area. That’s actually something that happens from time to time. When south Florida suffers an extreme wave of cold, Green iguanas have a habit of locking up and falling from their perches in the trees above. They’ll fall down to the ground, seemingly dead, only to “reanimate” when the temperatures rise back up. I’ve never witnessed this in person, but I hope to some day. Of all the strange things I’ve encountered in my life, I’ve never seen it “rain iguanas”…

Learn more about the Green iguana in Florida from the FWC.

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