Endangered Reptiles – The Marine Iguana

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Endangered Reptiles – The Marine Iguana

Once they are gone, they are gone for good.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature endangered animal species are being lost at 1,000 times the normal rate.

The reptile, a species that has been around for nearly 200 million years  and are among the Earth’s oldest creatures.

The Marine Iguana

An amazing reptile that is now in the endangered species “vulnerable” list is the Marine iguana (Amblyrhynchus cristatus). These iguanas are the world’s only oceangoing lizard! They are amphobious, which means that they can live both on land and in the water. They are found in a central tourist beach in the waterfront area of Puerto Villamil on Isabela Island in the Galápagos and are commonly seen basking on the rocky shores. Marine iguanas are found nowhere else in the world.

Fun Facts

  • They can only eat green algae, they cannot digest brown algae
  • They often sneeze out salt from glands near their noses and end up with a crown of white salt all over their heads
  • They look mean and fierce, but they are actually gentle herbivores
  • When there is a shortage of food, the marine iguana not only will get thinner they actually become shorter too, in order to adapt and stay as healthy as they can until food becomes available again.

Why are they endangered?

In the Galápagos, there are many introduced species, such as cats and dogs and even pigs all of which pray on marine iguanas. Climate change in the area has also had a devastating impact because they cannot self regulate their body temperature while on land which interferes with egg development.

Is anything being done to save them?

In the year 2012, The WWF, (the Municipality of Isabela and the Charles Darwin Foundation) extended the protected area of the marine iguana to include their entire nesting zone. Not only was a fence built to add extra protection to the area but signs were put up as information for tourists outlining the importance of their nesting zone

Browse our blog posts to learn more about some amazing reptiles, and book a show for a close encounter!

2017-11-02T11:46:50+00:00 Endangered Reptiles, Marine Iguana|