Animals

Galapagos Land Iguana: 21 Facts You Won’t Believe!

Galapagos land iguana facts like it is a giant lizard are interesting
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Galapagos land iguanas, Conolophus subcristatus are also known as lava lizards owing to their color. These species of land iguanas are endemic to the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador. There are three species of land iguanas belonging to the genus Conolophus. They are Galapagos land iguanas (Conolophus subcristatus), Galapagos pink land iguana (Conolophus marthae), Santa Fe land iguana (Conolophus pallidus). These three species of land iguana Galapagos are very different from marine iguanas.

Galapagos land iguanas are cold blooded reptiles who are large and bulky in build. They are often found in the Galapagos islands basking on volcanic rocks during the day or curled up in burrows at night. They are mostly vegetarian but sometimes eat insects and other arthropods. The number of these iguanas is rapidly declining from the island due to various factors.

You may also check out fact files on the black caiman and crested gecko from Kidadl.

Galapagos land iguana facts

Fact File

What do they prey on?

Prickly pear cactus, insects, and carrion

What do they eat?

Herbivore and occasionally carnivore

Average litter size?

2-20 eggs

How much do they weigh?

22-25 lb (10-11.5 kg)

How long are they?

39-59 in (1-1.5 m)


How tall are they?

N/A

What do they look like?

Brownish red and yellowish orange

Skin Type

Scaly

What are their main threats?

Invasive species and humans

What is their conservation status?

Vulnerable

Where you'll find them

Forests and shrublands in Archipelago Islands

Locations

Galapagos Islands and Ecuador

Kingdom

Animalia

Class

Reptilia

Scientific Name

Conolophus subcristatus

Family

Iguanidae

Genus

Conolophus

Galapagos Land Iguana Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Galapagos land iguana?

Galapagos land iguana (Conolophus subcristatus) is a large terrestrial lizard from the family Iguanidae. They are one of the many species of iguanas of the genus Conolophus found on the island.

What class of animal does a Galapagos land iguana belong to?

Galapagos land iguana belongs to the Class Reptilia and Order Squamata.

How many Galapagos land iguanas are there in the world?

Currently the number of adult iguanas in the wild range from 8,618-18117,10216 individuals.

Where does a Galapagos land iguana live?

Galapagos land iguanas are exclusively found on the Galapagos islands. They are widely distributed throughout the Galapagos Islands. These iguanas are found in the Santa Cruz, Fernandina, Isabela, Baltra, South Plaza, Santiago, and North Seymour islands. They had gone extinct in the Baltra islands and were reintroduced to the islands through a recovery campaign.

What is a Galapagos land iguana's habitat?

Galapagos land Iguanas are generally terrestrial to semi arboreal species. Land iguanas live in forests and shrublands on the Galapagos islands. They prefer dry arid regions. Iguanas live in burrows and are occasionally seen on shrubs and trees. They especially love the lava rocks and often flock together to get some sun on the islands.

Who do Galapagos land iguanas live with?

Unlike marine iguanas who live in colonies, Galapagos land iguanas are solitary by nature. The group around lava rocks and other sunny dry areas. Male iguanas are very protective of their territory and will fend off other males. More than one female land iguanas can be seen in the groups. Female land iguanas are not as aggressive as male iguanas. Males aggressively nod their head to defend territory or may even bite and thrash their tails at each other.

How long does a Galapagos land iguana live?

Galapagos land iguanas have a long lifespan ranging from 60-69 years in the wild Galapagos islands. But they have become very vulnerable due to the lack of food and water caused by other introduced invasive species.

How do they reproduce?

Like all other reptiles, Galapagos female land iguanas also lay eggs. Land iguanas have a mating ritual. The male iguana courts the female iguana aggressively. The male attracts the female with the burrows. Courtship occurs near their well protected burrows. Female land iguanas do not nest in these burrows. Female iguanas travel really long distances at a time looking for the perfect spot to lay their eggs. They often lay 20-25 eggs on moist sand and leaf litter. Sometimes they also lay their eggs in dormant volcanoes. Their eggs are soft-shelled. The competition to find the right spot to nest is very high among female land iguanas. The eggs hatch and young ones come out within three to four months.

What is their conservation status?

According to the IUCN red list of threatened species, Galapagos land iguanas are classified as Vulnerable species. Charles Darwin once complained about not being able to find space to pitch a tent due to excessive numbers of land iguanas. But their numbers have decreased rapidly since then.

Galapagos Land Iguana Fun Facts

What do Galapagos land iguanas look like?

The British scientist Charles Darwin described Galapagos land iguanas as ugly animals, with yellowish-orange beneath and brownish red neck and back: from the low facial angle, they have a singularly stupid appearance. Darwin was no fan of lizards.

Galapagos land iguanas are large bulky lizards that are brown with a yellow underside. They have a small blunt head with back set eyes. Their body is covered with spots, and they have a spiky crest that runs through their neck and back. The back legs of these land iguanas are thick and the front legs are small. They have long, extremely sharp claws. Land iguanas have really long and thick tails, the tails are longer than their trunk.

Galapagos land iguanas have a blunt head.

How cute are they?

Like Charles Darwin mentioned, land iguanas are quite ugly and scary looking. But they are harmless creatures trying to survive in a hostile land.

How do they communicate?

Galapagos land iguanas use various displays for communication. Their behavior varies from courtship to defending territories. They are not very vocal. The only sound they make is something that sounds like a loud sneeze.

How big is a Galapagos land iguana?

Galapagos land iguanas are typically larger than other lizards but rather smaller than the marine iguanas. Land iguanas grow up to 39-59 in (1-1.5 m). They have tails longer than their body.

How fast can a Galapagos land iguana move?

Galapagos land iguanas are pretty slow animals owing to their size.

How much does a Galapagos land iguana weigh?

Galapagos land iguanas weigh up to 22-25 lb (10-11.5 kg). They have really thick body, hind legs, and tail.

What are the male and female names of the species?

There is no specific name for male and female iguanas.

What would you call a baby Galapagos land iguana?

A newly hatched iguana can be called a hatchling as they hatch from eggs.

What do they eat?

Land iguanas are cold blooded reptiles which gives them a really slow metabolism. This allows them to feed less frequently. Galapagos land iguanas are herbivores by nature, but when there is an opportunity they switch to eating insects, centipedes, arthropods, and carrions. The most preferred food of a land iguana is the prickly pear cactus. They stand on their hind legs to reach the cactus pads, flowers, and fruits. Their leathery skin and mouth protect them from needles. The pointed face on a blunt head is also an added advantage as it is an adaptation that helps them eat the cactus without the spine poking their eyes.

Are they poisonous?

All iguanas have an atrophied venom gland, and they produce a very weak and harmless venom. Galapagos iguanas don't have venom but their bite can be painful. They have strong jaws and sharp teeth. They often give a warning before biting.

Would they make a good pet?

Galapagos land iguanas are a Vulnerable species. It is illegal to keep such wild, threatened animals as pets. Other smaller species of iguanas are well known among reptile collectors. It is not a good idea to keep a Galapagos land iguana as a pet.

Did you know...

Some Galapagos land iguana facts are that the female land iguanas never lay their eggs in the same place as they did before. This is one reason they travel long distances looking for the perfect spot.

Galapagos land iguanas at times cross breed with marine iguanas to produce hybrid young ones. This often only occurs at South Plaza Sur.

What is special about the Galapagos land iguana?

Galapagos iguanas are one of those species that adapted to one of the most hostile, dry, and isolated islands. They developed many features that supported their life in these Galapagos islands. A few of the Galapagos land iguanas adaptations include the short, blunt nose, flattened tails, thick hid legs, and smaller front legs. Their heads help them feed on prickly pear cactus and algae growing on rocks. The tail is well-developed for swimming. Their hind legs can give powerful blows.

Why are Galapagos land iguanas endangered?

The major cause of threat is the lack of availability of food. Galapagos land iguanas feed exclusively on  the limited food available on the island. With the increase in introduced invasive species like donkeys and goats, food also became very limited. Other invasive species like cats and dogs disturbed their habitat and ate their eggs. Construction in the islands is another reason as well.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these frilled lizard facts and bog turtle facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Galapagos land iguana coloring pages.

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