Sunday, January 24, 2010
Time out for iguanas
This blogger's heading south tomorrow, to warm Technicolorland – a time-out from here and a chance to check on the iguanas there. AnimalBeat visitors/readers are invited (as always!) to browse earlier posts, leave comments and become followers. Till early February . . .
What Northerner has not wished, in deepest, coldest winter, to be an iguana. They always seem to be soaking up and storing sun, as if to see themselves through . . . a deep, cold winter!
Iguanas are a kind of lizard, which in turn is a kind of reptile. They’re tropical, herbivorous, arboreal, quiet and diurnal – and fascinating. Unlike their relatives, the snakes, lizards have ears, eyelids and four legs. (And using those legs, they can travel fast overland, despite an ungainly look.)
Distinguishing iguana characteristics include an erectile dewlap, or throat flap. When defending territory or courting, the dewlap is erected and presented with vigorous head-nodding. In some iguanas, the neck and back crests can be inflated and displayed when excited.
Iguanas can weigh 15-30 pounds and grow to six feet or more (with the tail contributing most of that length). They love to bathe, swimming like snakes with their legs against their bodies. In eluding enemies, some can stay under water for 30 minutes, give or take.
Not a group/herd/social creature, if one iguana finds food, s/he doesn’t share with others, and the female shows little or no maternal behavior. In general, the iguana prefers escape to defense. In extreme stress, the tail will come off; then, if/when it grows back, it will be darker to black in color.
In Technicolorland, iguanas are reputed to love red-hued hibiscus flowers – which seems altogether appropriate!