Factors affecting their habitats
As excellent swimmers, iguanas favour terrestrial and arboreal habitats that are near water, as it provides a valuable escape route when under threat, as well as being a reliable resource for hydration and temperature regulation. Feeding on vegetation, they’re dependent on environments rich in plant species, making future land development a serious threat to their resources.
Populations of invasive green iguanas are thriving in suburban areas across America, with Florida being one of the worst-hit places. Their vast numbers have placed enormous pressure on the resources for local wildlife, dominating expanses of vegetation, causing pollinators and smaller lizard species to suffer. Free from predation, their populations are only dented by cold spells of weather.
In the Galápagos, one of the main nesting sites for marine iguanas is Puerto Villamil on Isabela Island, which is also a very popular tourist beach. Historically, only the centre of the nesting zone was protected. In an attempt to halt the iguana’s decline, this has since been extended to include the entire nesting site. Educating local communities and visiting tourists as to the importance of such zones is also a priority.