Jamaican Iguana

Jamaican Iguana Cyclura collei

Type of Animal:

Forests, limestone outcrops, hilly areas

Once found throughout Jamaica as well as offshore islands Great Goat Island & Little Goat Island. Now confined to Hellshire Hills in St Catherine Parish.

Large green to salty blue lizard w/ darker olive-green shoulder area, 3 dark broad chevrons extend from neck base to tail w/ dark olive-brown zigzag spots, brighter bluish-green dorsal crest scales, blotchy yellow areas on sides, many individuals reddish-brown especially in front of body, males larger than females w/ more noticeable cresting/jowling/dewlap

Leaves, flowers, fruit, snails, insects

Status in Wild:
Critically Endangered

Breeding in zoos & breeding centers. Reintroduction into native range. Consortium of 12 US institutions donated/constructed headstarting facility at Hope Zoo in Kingston used for rearing of eggs/hatchlings brought from wild, in which they’re reared until big enough to be released back into wild. Jamaican Iguana Recovery Program helping reintroduce animals into wild & find suitable sites in former range to reintroduce them.

Solitary, though females occasionally nest near each other, defending nests from each other.

Additional Info:

Young: Hatchling
Group: Colony
Male: 12-15 lbs
Female: 7-9 lbs
3 months 

Life Span:
40-70 years

Body Length:
Male: 3-3.5 ft
Female: 2.5 ft
Young: 1.5 ft

Tail Length:
Male: 1.86 ft
Female: 1.43 ft

Main predators of adults are cats, dogs, & hawks (latter only natural predator). Mongooses, pigs, & boas (latter only natural predator) prey on young.
Critically endangered due to introduced predators, habitat loss, deforestation, restricted range, nest destruction by goats/pigs, pet trade, agriculture, hunting for meat, killing out of fear, charcoal production/burning, livestock grazing, development, tourism, & limestone mining.
Sexually mature at 3-4 years old.
Active during the day (diurnal).
These iguanas equally at home on land & in trees.
Females lay 6-20 eggs per clutch, usually in June.
Also called Jamaican Rock Iguana.
These animals fight fiercely over territory, especially males.
Claws come in handy for digging/defense.

Fun Fact(s):
These lizards have wide range of temperaments from friendly to highly defensive.
Head-bob to defend territory.
Due to role in seed dispersal, they’re considered Jamaica’s 1st farmers.
Jamaica’s largest native land animal.
These lizards considered extinct from 1948-1990, when man named Edwin Duffus was hunting pigs in Hellshire Hills area. His dog retrieved lizard & was shown to staff at Hope Zoo in Kingston (lizard was still alive but subsequently died of injuries). Subsequent surveys discovered 2 nesting sites but number of young very small. Most individuals were adults. Since then, populations have increased from well below 100, now numbering around 200 animals.
Jamaican Iguana, Brookfield Zoo, taken by me

10 thoughts on “Jamaican Iguana

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