10 Different Types of Iguanas

Different Types of Iguanas
Photo by Alexis Antonio

Iguanas have a sturdy and elongated body that can grow quite large. Each species is distinct and can range from terrestrial to arboreal in nature.

Furthermore, they live in the tropical areas of the American continent, and some have become unusual pets for humans; continue reading to learn about ten different types of iguanas.

1. Chuckwalla

Chuckwallas are species of iguanas that defies stereotypes. They do not dwell in tropical areas with lush foliage and trees. Instead, they live in deserts in western North America.

The morphological appearance of the chuckwalla reflects its rugged natural surroundings. Don’t expect a lot of vibrant color and jewel tone embellishments.

These lizards have developed black, protective skin. The majority of chuckwallas are black, dark gray, or brown.

Not only that, but the skin is typically thick and scaly to provide additional protection against the harsh sun! Chuckwallas, which grow to be roughly 18 inches long, are not for inexperienced reptile keepers.

In terms of accommodation, these creatures have high standards. The lizard’s stocky physique and ground-dwelling lifestyle might be difficult to adapt to.

A chuckwalla’s continuous drive to escape can be difficult to deal with in captivity, and this type is infamous for being difficult to control.

2. Cuban Rock Iguana

The Cuban rock iguana is a giant lizard native to Cuba’s rocky southern coast and the second most populous species in the West Indies.

Unfortunately, they are also among the most endangered species on this list of Different types of iguana. Cuban rock iguanas are at risk of extinction due to habitat loss and rising natural predators.

Fortunately, conservation initiatives are in full swing. Despite their biological status, many captive breeding initiatives exist. 

Cuban rock iguanas measure around 16 inches. The tail is multiple times the length of the main body, as it is in most iguanas. These lizards can grow to be over five feet long in total.

This iguana species has more mass than regular green iguanas. The body has rows of small spines. In the meantime, the head is robust and stout.

Cuban rock iguanas are herbivores that are pretty easy to feed. They enjoy lush greens, flowers, and a variety of veggies. They will occasionally devour the dead bodies of fish, crabs, and birds found in the wild.

While these iguanas take some time to adjust to their new environment, they may be pretty quiet once tamed.

Cuban rock iguanas are relatively easygoing and curious once they trust their guardians and become accustomed to their new surroundings.

3. Spiny-tailed Iguana

The spiny-tailed iguana is indigenous to Mexico and Central America. They live in hot, arid climates. However, they are semi-arboreal and require a variety of climbing surfaces in their surroundings to thrive.

Green iguanas are more common than these lizards. However, committed collectors might find captive-bred specimens in the pet trade. Because spiny-tailed iguanas are protected, no wild imports are available.

There are around a dozen species of iguanas in this family, but the black spiny-tailed iguana is the most readily available to keepers.

The lizard’s back has thick spikes, beginning at the neck and down to the keeled tail. The sharp scales covering the tail are the most intriguing physical characteristic, making it a great self-defense weapon.

Spiny-tailed iguanas are known for having a temperament that is less than perfect. They’re aggressive, erratic, and downright brutal to control.

In defense, many will whip their tails and bite the hand that feeds. As a result, they are not appropriate for novices.

In addition, The spiny-tailed has one of the best defense mechanisms on this list of different types of iguanas.

4. Galapagos land iguanas

On the biologically varied Galapagos island, there are two different types of iguanas. A few species overlap, but iguanas on these islands are either marine or land-based.

The Galapagos land iguanas resemble sea species. They do not, however, wander into the ocean to forage for food. Instead, they stay on the dry lowland of various islands.

When fully mature, these lizards are girthy and around three feet long. They don’t do much climbing. To control their temperature, they prefer to sunbathe in the sun or lay on a volcanic rock.

Land iguanas in the Galapagos Islands eat predominantly plant materials. However, for high-protein snacks, they will consume insects such as centipedes. Some people consume the decaying flesh of dead animals.

Surprisingly, these iguanas have a symbiotic connection with birds, and it’s one of the more intriguing parts of their way of life. The lizards will let birds pluck parasites and ticks off their bodies to receive relief.

5. West Indian rock iguanas

Made up of 10 different types of iguanas species and subspecies. They’re all from the West Indies, and many are critically endangered, making them uncommon in the pet trade.

Several species may reproduce in captivity, opening the door for an expert to rear these one-of-a-kind critters.

The size of West Indian rock iguanas can vary greatly, and you have controllable species at the smaller end of the spectrum, with a maximum length of about two feet. Larger varieties, on the other hand, can grow to be over five feet long!

Because this variety includes so many different species, physical appearance also differs. Most, however, are beefier and have distinct traits such as huge spikes, wide jowls, and scaly skin. Brown, gray, and black are common colors.

This iguana species might be difficult for beginners to understand regarding behavior and disposition. They frequently show signals of hostility and resist handling.

Things can be different if you have the opportunity to care for one of these lizards from infancy.

6. Green iguana

This is the species that most people think of when they think about iguanas. Green iguanas are famous pet lizards. The green iguana is a widespread species of iguana; while the common term implies a trademark color, other green iguana colors exist.

A fully mature specimen can grow to be six or seven feet long and weigh in at around 20 pounds. The tail accounts for the majority of the lizard’s body length, and the tail can be three times the length of the snout-to-vent size.

Green iguanas defend themselves by using their tail, and they are used to whip would-be predators. When threatened with damage, this iguana species is also capable of dropping its tail to avoid capture.

These reptiles easily traverse thanks to their strong legs, nimble fingers, and sharp claws. Meanwhile, the thick jowls and broad dewlap under the chin give him that threatening appearance.

Green iguanas demand a huge enclosure due to their size. Small terrariums are insufficient for these tree-dwellers! They require vertically oriented habitats that are large enough to handle their size and have lots of room for navigation.

Despite their popularity, green iguanas can be challenging to handle for newcomers. Aside from their space requirements, this kind of iguana is very defensive. Keepers can tame them, but it takes time and trust to get there.

7. Desert iguana

While most iguana species are recognized for climbing trees and blending into dense tropical flora, the desert iguana is not one of the different types of iguanas capable of this feat.

 Desert iguanas have a striking appearance. These reptiles have tan, brown, and gray skin instead of vivid green. Accents of rusty brown and black are also common.

Most lizards have a pattern of broken bands on their back, which helps them blend in with their surroundings.

Another distinguishing feature of this iguana is the lack of clearly distinct spikes. Although some lizards have minor spikes on their heads, their profiles are smooth and featureless.

These guys don’t even have a dewlap under their chin! The body is thick and cylindrical, and robust legs support the body and aid these iguanas in navigating their dry environments.

Desert iguanas can climb plants and rocks. They do not, however, scale large treetops like other varieties of iguanas and prefer to remain low and find a safe hiding place when confronted with danger.

Desert iguanas are relatively uncommon as pets, and most animals struggle to adjust to life in captivity. They are a gratifying species to care for once they become accustomed to enjoying life as a pet.

8. Fiji banded iguana

 Fiji banded iguanas are stunning lizards with a significantly more colorful appearance than their common cousin.

 The majority of the body is vivid green. Thick vertical white, blue, or yellow stripes, on the other hand, embellish the torso and pack a powerful visual punch!

The lizard’s coloring is the beginning of the show. They lack the distinct spikes found in other species, giving them a softer and more inviting appearance; unfortunately, due to their endangered status, Fiji banded iguanas are generally unavailable to hobbyists. Fires and storms destroy their habitat, causing their numbers to dwindle. 

When compared to green iguanas, this iguana is on the smaller side. When grown, they grow to be around 24 inches long and weigh less than a pound.

These lizards, which are diurnal, spend most of their time basking in the sun and defending their area. They’re laid-back and unassuming, and this type of iguana returns to the protection of the trees to sleep at night.

When kept in captivity, Fiji banded iguanas require large enclosures with enough vertical climbing. They are primarily herbivores, but juvenile lizards occasionally eat bugs and high-protein snacks.

9. Rhinoceros iguana

 This appropriately named iguana is easy to spot the moment you see it! The bony horn-like projection that grows from the snout gives it its common name, protecting the lizard from rocks and other rough surfaces.

On this list of different types of iguanas, the rhinoceros iguana is one of the largest iguana specie as they can grow to be four or five feet long and weigh up to twenty pounds. That’s a lot of weight to move!

Rhinoceros iguanas, like other West Indian species, are critically endangered. They’re uncommon in the pet world. However, some devoted lizard keepers look after them.

This iguana is not suitable for beginners, and they have precise requirements that most casual herpetology lovers cannot meet. To be happy, the rhino iguana needs a significant habitat with plenty of floor space.

10. Grand Cayman blue iguana

The Grand Cayman blue iguanas (often known simply as blue iguanas) are beautiful. Because of their massive size and striking coloration, these lizards are a sight to behold.

Blue iguanas can reach five feet in length and weigh up to 30 pounds when fully grown. They’re one of the Cayman Islands’ largest creatures, which is an astounding feat in and of itself.

When the lizard feels threatened, its blue coloring comes to life! The hue becomes more intense as a statement of power or danger.

Because potential predators see the hue as dangerous, it’s an excellent protection mechanism that aids this lizard’s ascension up the food chain.

The Grand Cayman blue iguana is unlike the thin and elegant lizards that love scaling treetops. It has a large body and prefers to stay on rocky terrain.

The reptile can climb, although it’s more likely to dig with its sharp claws than scale vertical surfaces. Like other types of iguanas, this reptile has enormous spikes down its back, balancing the jowls and rough skin.

These iguanas are not as fearful as other types and can bite if they are anxious or scared. While the teeth are short, they are sharp enough to cause injury if you are on the receiving end of a bite.


The different types of iguanas available on this list will never fail to astonish you. With such a wide range of forms and behavior, it’s no surprise that these reptiles have grabbed our attention for centuries.

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