Marine Iguana Facts
- The Marine Iguana is a very special species. It is found only on the Galapagos Islands, which remains part of the country of Ecuador, in South America.
- To our knowledge, it remains the only lizard in the world able to live and forage in the ocean.
- This makes it the only known marine reptile on earth.
- Plus, look at this face. Does it remind you of Khaleesi’s dragons in Game of Thrones? It must be those dragons’ cousin.
- Adding to its dragon resemblance, the species primarily dwells on the rugged shore, but may sometimes visit marshes and mangrove beaches.
- Unlike other lizards – as well as the GOT dragons, the Marine Iguana is herbivorous and feeds exclusively almost on underwater seaweed.
Marine Iguana Physical Description
In color, the Marine Iguana is generally various shades of gray or black, but may sometimes display other colors.
The unique animal resides on several of the islands and actually varies in average size from island to island – how unique. A general average size is approximately 5.6 ft (1.7 m) in length and 26 lbs (12 kg) in weight.
So it is too small to move around with Khaleesi on its back.
Though it does feed almost exclusively underwater, its flat snouts and sharp teeth allow it to also feed on algae growing on rocks when it so chooses. The Marine Iguana possesses a unique nasal gland, which filters its blood for excess levels of salt ingested while feeding. This excess salt is then expelled through the nostrils.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Reptilia
- Order: Squamata
- Family: Varanidae
- Genus: Varanus
- Species: V. komodoensis
Marine Iguana Aggressive Nature
The remarkable Marine Iguana can also dive to depths as great as 30 feet (10 m). After diving in the rather cold water to feed, it will bask in the sun on the rocky shoreline for long. At this time, it is extremely defensive and will strike at any approaching creature.
During breeding season the males assemble large herds of females, which the male will aggressively guard against rivals. Violent encounters at this point are rare, however. Typically, such fights consist of no more than head-bobbing and head-butting.
The Marine Iguana is a fully protected species by law.