Wild Fact #192 – Speedy Gonzales – Spiny Tailed Iguana

Photo by Keith Pomakis (Wikimedia)

I don’t know if you have looked yet but our Wild Facts are winding down pretty quick. Soon enough, we will hit the illustrious zero mark…then what? Let’s not worry about that now since we still have a few facts to go so let’s get started with the Spiny Tailed Iguana.  Luckily to learn about this animal we are going to take a nice winter trip to Mexico and Central America where they are native residents.  I suppose we could also head to Florida or Texas since they were introduced in these states but I would prefer to see their native habitat.

The Spiny Tailed Iguana is closely related to its cousin, the Green Iguana (aren’t most cousins closely related?).   Unlike their cousin some species of the Spiny Tailed Iguana are more aggressive than the Green Iguana so they don’t all do well as pets.  Let’s take a look at a few of the other differences so you don’t accidentally end up with an angry house pet.  Don’t worry though you should still be able to tell them apart fairly easily. The most obvious difference are the spiny scales that run along the entire length of their tail.  I am going to guess this is how they received their name.  They also have a longer crest on their back then most of their cousins but I just recommend checking for the spiny rings on the tail.

If you do end up with one of these Iguanas for a pet then you need to know what they enjoy eating, right?  Typically, the young Spiny Tailed Iguana feeds on insects while the adults become mainly herbivores feasting on fruits and vegetation.  This herbivore diet must work out for them since these iguanas use this energy to run awfully fast.  It is a Spiny Tailed Iguana that holds the world record in the Lizard Sprint category.  I have no idea who went around and clocked the speed of different lizards but I do know the Spiny Tailed Iguana was the winner with a speed of 34.6 km/h (25.5 mph).  This is why it is important to eat your vegetables, kids.


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  1. PC Nicholas 7 years ago
    • Nathan Nathan 7 years ago
  2. Susan 6 years ago
    • Nathan Nathan 6 years ago

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