Jamaican iguana in exhibit

Jamaican Iguana

Scientific Name

Cyclura collei

Class

Reptilia

Order

Squamata

Range

Hellshire Hills of southern Jamaica

Habitat

Forests

Estimated Wild Population

n/a
Jamaican iguana in exhibit
IUCN Conservation Status: Critically Endangered IUCN Conservation Status: Critically Endangered

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Physical Description

Jamaican iguanas are large, grayish lizards with a green or blue tint, olive-green colorations around their shoulders, and dark triangle-shaped blotches down their dorsal crest. Males can grow up to 17 inches long, while females reach only 15 inches. They are mildly dimorphic: males possess large femoral pores beneath their thighs that release pheromones, while females have smaller pores and lower dorsal crests. These iguanas nest in underground burrows filled with loose soil and lay up to 20 eggs in early summer.

Interesting Fact 1

Once common throughout Jamaica, their population dropped dramatically after the Indian mongoose was brought to the island as a form of rat and snake control. The iguanas were considered extinct for four decades until a small population was discovered in 1990.

Interesting Fact 2

Some zoo-born iguanas are released into the wild once they're large enough to fend off the invasive mongooses.

Interesting Fact 3

Females guard their nests alone, using aggressive displays, biting, and chasing to fend off enemies.

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Species Survival Plan®

We cooperate with other members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to manage the zoo population of this species through a Species Survival Plan®.

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