Our cruise ship arrived in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands and we had to wait awhile for our planned shore excursion to St. John. We walked around the dock area and I discovered a large iguana basking on a rock near the water.
|This photo reveals the immense length of the tail.|
Later, as I walked along the upper edge of the rock pier I discovered multiple iguanas, perhaps 20 total, a veritable iguana park.
|This iguana provided quite a show, bobbing its head up and down and extending its dewlap.|
The green iguana originated in South America and radiated out through Central America and the Caribbean. Many subspecies were originally identified, but they have all been re-identified as regional variations of the same species. The green iguana was native to some Caribbean islands, such as St. Lucia, Grenada, Curacao and St. Vincent, but they were introduced into the U.S. Virgin Islands and it is considered an invasive species there.
They are often found near water and are good swimmers. They propel themselves through water using their powerful tail and allow their limbs to hang limply by their side. Color on the iguana can vary greatly. They can be green, black, blue, lavender and pink. A row of spines along their back and tail protects them from predators. The large dewlap helps them regulate temperature and is also used in territorial and courtship displays.