Blog Description

Mound House Happenings shares the latest in ongoing projects, site improvements, scheduled programs and events, plus interesting facts and photos on our unique archaeology, history and ecology.

Mound House

Mound House
October 15, 2013

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Creature Feature #19 - Green Iguana

#19 - GREEN IGUANA (Iguana Iguana)

Here at  Mound House, visitors will occasionally encounter one of our non- native residents, the green iguana. Frequently found lounging in the trunks of mangroves on our canal bank  ,these vegetarians are native to the Central and South American tropics where living in dense canopy above the water is their preferred habitat. As such, our shady mangrove lined shoreline is the perfect location for these lizards. Scientists  believe that our resident population of green iguanas are the descendants of escaped and released pets and have been observed in the wild here in  Southwest Florida since the 1960s.

It is important to note that  while we do have a few resident iguanas here on Estero Island, these reptiles cannot tolerate freezes and we are at the near northern range of their territory. Outer islands such as Estero,  Cayo Costa and Gasparilla  islands are warmed by  gulf waters in the winter and rarely freeze. As such they have become home to the green iguana.
Juvenile iguanas are bright green and tend to darken into a grey or brown as they age. Larger adult males (and we have one) will have dark stripes and even turn a shade of orange during breeding season. Adult males may reach a length of nearly 5 feet. In many cultures, the  iguana is considered to be of great medicinal value. Its body fat has been found useful in the treatment of sore throats ,ear aches and arthritis. In fact, the meat of the iguana is even considered an aphrodisiac in Central and South America.

However, unlike their cousin the gecko, researchers have determined that green iguanas can neither speak in an Australian accent or sell car insurance.        

Mound House resident iguana