Iguanas are enormous lizards that can be found throughout the Caribbean and the Cayman Islands. They are impressive in size as well as colour, resembling dinosaurs more than any other creature today. This green iguana has found a perch in the mangroves along the coast of San Pedro Island. At more than 2.2m long (almost 7 feet), he is truly the king of the roost in this neighbourhood.
Despite having powerful jaws and formidable teeth, the green iguana is vegetarian, living on leaves, fruit, berries, and flowers. They are territorial and will often find a perch high along a waterway and then defend the area from rival males. They are defending their food supply as well as their mating grounds and they can put on a very animated display of aggression with head bobbing and posturing to scare away other males. Fights for territory often result in serious injury or death for one of the combatants. Iguanas has monstrous claws and they will also whip their powerful tails to thrash an opponent, or even a human who gets too close for comfort.
The reason this iguana is perched over the water is to allow it to drop into the ocean so it can swim to safety if it is threatened by predators. The iguana actually possesses an organ in its head that senses light. Technically, a third eye, it can detect when a predator is approaching from above in order to help the iguana recognize danger and escape before capture. A sensory device in its mouth, known as Jacobson's Organ helps the lizard sense food and even danger with its tongue. Iguanas are very complex and well developed in terms of sensory ability.
Male iguanas are also surprisingly beautiful with their brightly coloured scales and skin flaps. Only the males have these features. The females are smaller, and they are grey or green in appearance.