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Essential Iguana Facts

The iguana’s anatomy

Like most other reptiles, your iguana has a pair of eyes for scanning the environment for food and potential predators. It also has a pair of ears that are protected by a fairly wide portion of skin called the subtympanic shield.

The iguana also has spines along its back; these pliable spines are called the caudal spines and, over time, these will grow long and hard. Iguanas also have a flap of skin under their lower jaw called the dewlap.

Iguanas are herbivorous (they feed on plants only), so they are equipped with very small, yet very sharp, teeth that are designed to rip apart fibrous plant matter.

You must be careful when bringing your hand near the iguana’s mouth, because those teeth can cause serious tears in your skin. If you look closely at the top of the iguana’s head, you will notice a prominent, light patch of scale.

This light patch of scale is called the parietal eye, or third eye. The iguana uses its third eye to detect changes in light in a given area. It is believed that this primordial eye is also used to detect flying predators, so the iguana can make a run for it before becoming some other animal’s lunch or dinner.

Essential Facts


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