Green Iguana (Iguana iguana) – Adult & Juvenile

The young or juvenile green iguana aka common iguana was found on our small farm in Matina Limon. The larger iguana is a resident of Selva Verde Lodge in Chilimate, CR.

The Iguana iguana is a herbivore that lives in the trees. Adults are only seen on the ground when no path exists above or the females are laying eggs. They can be found naturally from Southern Mexico to Brasil and some Caribbean Islands. Their numbers are decreasing due to loss of habitat, poaching for meat and the dreaded pet/zoo trade.

Both of these creatures have a dewlap (chin flap) so they are both males. Females are smaller than males and have no dewlap.

Juvenile Iguana

The juveniles, as shown below, are bright green and live on the ground sometimes within a group of other males. At this stage they eat insects and invertebrates. They become vegetarians as they age. It will eventually acquire black rings on its tail, earning its stripes if you will.

The round scale under the eardrum helps to identify this as an iguana and not the similarly looking green basilisk.

Green Iguana

Green Iguana juv

Adult Iguana

This massive beast is approximately 3 feet long and meaty. Known as docile creatures when threatened they will bite, scratch and even whip their large tail around to defend themselves. They bask in the heat of the sun which is believed to help them process their plant diet through microorganisms that live in their digestive tract. The microorganisms need a certain constant temperature to function properly.

Iguana Iguana Iguana Iguana Iguana Iguana Iguana Iguana

Much of the information for this post came from A guide to Amphibians and Reptiles of Costa Rica by Twan Leenders. All photography belongs to 10 Degrees Above.

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