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Green Iguana Fun Facts

September 9, 2016

green iguana in west palm beach

In recent decades, the green iguana population in South Florida has exploded; they are everywhere!  Although they are not native to Florida, they seem to have taken quite nicely to our warm and tropical climate.  In light of their growing population, it can’t hurt to learn a little bit more about these extraordinarily exotic creatures.  As a South Floridian local, I encounter green iguanas every single day and they have always been pretty frightening to me, but through my research I learned a lot about the many fascinating characteristics of the green iguana, and this newfound understanding has helped me peacefully interact with the iguanas; they don’t scare me anymore!  I want to share this understanding of green iguanas, so I have attempted to compile my research into these four “fun facts” that I find to be intriguing and that I hope to be helpful.

#1: Green iguanas have freakishly long tails that are their best weapon. An iguana’s tail alone makes up about half of its overall body length and they do all sorts of cool things with it.  Green iguanas are generally not aggressive creatures, but don’t dare mess with them because they are pretty tough thanks to their tail. They use it as a defensive weapon by whacking or ‘punching’ their attacker, and they can do some serious damage with this maneuver.  However, green iguanas are naturally passive animals so in most cases they will first try to escape their attacker, and in these scenarios they are able to detach their tail for a fast get away.

#2: Green iguanas are arboreal in nature. Do you ever wonder why you always spot iguanas at the tops of trees?  It is because they are arboreal in nature, which basically means that they really like trees.  If you see a green iguana in a tree, don’t fret, they are the most relaxed when they are up high in a tree and they will not bother you.   If you do not want iguanas in your trees, then you can buy metal sheets to put at the bottoms of your trees so that they cannot climb them.

On the other hand, if you see an iguana on the ground, then be wary.  Green iguanas feel more threatened by someone or something when they are looking up at it, and they can get pretty feisty when threatened.  Even though they are not typically aggressive creatures, green iguanas are defensive and they will use their long tail to hit you if they feel threatened.  If you see them on the ground, do not approach them, move slowly; and you will be fine.  

#3: In the United States, green iguanas are one of the most popular pets.  Domesticated green iguanas are in high demand because Americans value their exotic features and that they typically have laid back behaviorisms.  However, owning an iguana is surprisingly challenging because of their suicidal tendencies.  Yes, you read that correctly: young green iguanas will kill themselves if they are not being cared for properly.  In fact, most green iguanas that are raised in captivity and that died in their first year, died due to bad caregiving.

#4: In Central America, the locals call green iguanas the “Chickens of the Forest.” That’s right: in Central America, green iguanas are considered food.  In addition, green iguana eggs are also quite the novelty food to Central Americans, prepared by simply boiling them in saltwater.  This was shocking to me, but apparently they are as common to eat as chicken. Specifically, green iguanas are the most commonly eaten type of iguana.

 If iguanas have become a nuisance around your home, check in later for my post about the most effective ways to keep iguanas out of your yard and away from your family.   If you have any questions about green iguanas or if you are interested in our pest control services, please call one of our Nozzle Nolen representatives at (888) 685-0376.


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