Iguana at Arch Creek Memorial Park
WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY – ARCH CREEK MEMORIAL PARK, NORTH MIAMI, FL
This photo is of an Iguana that was found at Arch Creek Memorial Park off of NE 135th Street in North Miami, Florida. The camera gear used in this wildlife photo was a Nikon D90 with a Nikkor 60mm 2.8 lens attached.
This photograph is of a Common or Green Iguana (Iguana iguana). This is a large, arboreal herbivorous species of lizard whose genus Iguana is native to Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. The common or green iguana ranges over a large geographic area, from southern Brazil and Paraguay to as far north as Mexico and the Caribbean Islands. This is especially so in Puerto Rico where they are also known as “Gallina de palo” and they are very common throughout the island where they are is seen as an intruder animal from South America; and in the United States as feral populations in South Florida (including the Florida Keys), Hawaii, and the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.
The Common or Green Iguana is a herbivore, of which it has has adapted significantly with regard to locomotion and osmoregulation as a result of its diet. This Iguana grows to 1.5 metres (4.9 ft) in length from its head to tail, although a few specimens have grown more than 2 metres (6.6 ft) with bodyweights upward of 20 pounds (9.1 kg).
When frightened by a predator, Common or Green Iguanas will attempt to flee, and if they are near a body of water, they dive into it and swim away. If cornered by a threat, the Green Iguana will extend and display the dewlap under its neck, stiffen and puff up its body, hiss, and bob its head at the aggressor. If threat persists the Iguana can lash with its tail, bite and use its claws in defense.
The wounded are more inclined to fight than uninjured prey. Green Iguanas use “head bobs” and dewlaps in a variety of ways in social interactions, such as greeting another iguana or to court a possible mate.The frequency and number of head bobs have particular meanings to other iguanas. Green Iguanas are preyed upon by hawks and their fear of hawks is exploited as a ploy to catch them in the wild. The sound of a hawk’s whistle or scream makes the iguana freeze and it becomes easier to capture.