The Green iguana can grow up to two meters in length and has a very distinctive appearance and like the name suggests, is usually green in colour. It has a large head with protective comb-like spines running down the centre of its back and tail. The long tail is also used as a defence delivering a painful whip and like other lizards they can shed the tail to escape if grabbed by it, this will eventually grow back.
Green iguanas are primarily tree-dwelling reptiles and spend over 90% of their time inactive. When they do move, they generally travel slowly however if threatened by a predator, they have the ability to run very fast and will dive into water where they can utilise their excellent swimming skills.
Sexual maturity is reached after two to three years and breeding takes place during the dry season. A couple of months after mating, the female will move away from the male’s territory and lay anything between 15 to 75 eggs in a in a communal nesting burrow. Incubation is approximately three months with hatchings emerging at the start of the rainy season ensuring plentiful lush, green vegetation for the growing juveniles to feed on. Unfortunately, only about 2.5% of hatchlings reach one year of age as they are extremely vulnerable to predators such as birds, mammals and other reptiles.
Ziggy, the Oceanarium’s Green iguana, lives in a custom-built display which replicates the natural conditions he would experience in the Amazonian rainforest, including three daily showers by the aquatics team, sun lamps, a basking tree, bathing pool and foliage to climb amongst. The suitability of these conditions result in Ziggy expressing his natural behaviours and vivid green colourations