March 1, 2012

Land Iguanas

 Large slow moving lizards pretty much sums up the land iguana. Some were almost 5 feet long. Some were quite brilliantly yellow with their mating colours such as this baleful fellow below. Being cold-blooded they casually bask on rocks often letting other animals peck about them and even on top of them. At night they conserve body heat in burrows. The spiky crest that starts at the neck runs to the tail tip.
 The land iguana is endemic to many islands of the Galapagos. The land iguanas have been known to interbreed with marine iguanas creating probably sterile hybrids, particularily on South Plaza island where the species overlap territory. After mating the females travel to sandy areas to make a burrow to lay eggs. Eggs hatch 90-125 days later.
 The land iguanas mostly snacks on plants and cacti like this one having a lunch of carpetweed. They have been known to be opportunistic carnivores, eating insects or carrion. They are a common site on the airport runway at Baltra and often seen crossing roads.

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