Iguanas are among the largest members of the lizard group. The green tree iguana, with its prehistoric look, is an ever-present inhabitant of the Neotropical rainforests
. A large individual can reach 6 feet long but most of its length comprises their “whip-like” tail. Iguanas are lethargic reptiles that spend most of the day exposed in tree branches, sun basking near a river or creek where they will jump in case of an imminent threat. Iguanas are excellent swimmers and can stay submerged for several minutes. Young individuals feed mostly on insects,
but when they develop they switch to a more frugivore diet that focuses on leaves and fruit. Typically, iguanas are slow creatures. However, they can move swiftly when required. Juveniles are bright green. As they age, their coloration shifts to grayish-green tones.
The iguanas we see along the Amazon basin
are ancient relatives of the iguanas that colonized the Galapagos Islands thousands of years ago and eventually “speciated,” or turned into, the different species found today along the famous archipelago.