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  Apr 30, 2017.    

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Island Wildlife: Iguanas

Cozumel wildlife
Iguanas in Cozumel.

In the first of a new series about native island wildlife in Cozumel, we take a look at nature’s friendly miniature dragons: iguanas.

Iguanas are common in Cozumel, from backyards downtown to the surf-washed rocks on the island’s east coast.

These friendly reptiles are often elusive at first, but, if tempted with some fresh chopped vegetables, can become quite tame.

Downtown, keep an eye out for them sunbathing on the tops of walls. Outside built-up areas you’re more likely to spot them soaking up the sun on the branches of trees.

There are many types of iguanas, they are a type of lizard found natively across Central and South America. The most common species found in Cozumel is the Black Spiny-tailed Iguana (Ctenosaura similis).


Rick Hudson, Executive Director of the International Iguana Foundation at Fort Worth Zoo in Texas, says the Black Spiny-tailed Iguana can be identified by its markings, a “series of dark cross bars on a gray background.”

Cozumel iguanas
Even in backyards.

If you see iguanas while in Cozumel you may notice that they sometimes bob their heads up and down.

Different numbers and frequencies of head-bobs have different meanings to other iguanas.

They use these “head-bobs” to communicate, anything from a simple “hello” to a flirtatious comment to court a potential mate.


For more information on iguanas visit the International Iguana Foundation’s website.

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