Green iguanas (Iguana iguana) are large lizards native to southern Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean. You can also find them in some other places like Hawaii, southern Texas, and southern Florida where pets went rogue and now have the title of largest lizards living within the US.1
Iguanas look a bit like horizontal Godzillas and can grow up to 6 1/2 feet in length from tip to tail. They are mostly green and have long, powerful tails, spiny dorsal crests running the length of their backs, and saggy dewlaps beneath their jaws that they use for temperature control and extend during territorial and courtship displays. They live most of their lives in the canopy eating leaves and fruit, coming down to the ground to mate and lay eggs. Sometimes they fall out of trees but it’s usually ok because they can fall about 40 feet and land no problem.2
POWERFACTS!: Unlike most of their fellow lizards who lost it long ago, iguanas have a third eye on top of their heads. This eye can’t make an image but is sensitive to light and can detect movement, a helpful skill for evading raptor predators.1 Also, I’m sure its gotta be a portal into some other dimension or all seeing or something.
Also, if you ever need to, you can turn a feisty iguana immobile for a few minutes just by gently pressing its regular old eyes through its eyelids for 10 seconds.3
In January 2010 a cold front swept through southern Florida resulting in an event that seems super Florida to me. The cold nights caused the iguanas to go into mini hibernation mode, relaxing their tight little grips on the tree limbs and raining down onto streets and yards and mall parking lots I imagine. Then day came and they warmed up and could go about their business again.4 This guy from Miami Metrozoo, Ron Magill, said at the time, “I knew of a gentleman who was collecting them off the street and throwing them in the back of his station wagon, and all of a sudden these things are coming alive, crawling on his back and almost caused a wreck.”5 I can respect an animal that can be sort of ridiculous and helpless and terrifying all at the same time.