Cozumel is Home to a Diverse Animal Population Including Iguanas

Iguanas are omnivorous lizards, native to the tropical areas of Mexico, and the green iguana, a large, arboreal, mostly herbivorous species of lizard ranges over a large geographic area, from southern Brazil and Paraguay as far north as Mexico and the Caribbean Islands.

Iguanas possess a row of spines running down their backs to their tails, and a tiny “third eye” on their heads. This light-sensing organ is known as the parietal eye, visible as a pale scale on the top of the head, cannot make out details but is sensitive to shades of brightness. Behind their necks are small scales that resemble spokes, known as tuberculate scales. These scales may be of a variety of colors and are not always visible from close distances.

In Puerto Vallarta, iguanas are often used as company logos and in names of establishments such as restaurants, nightclubs, cantinas, house names, and even companies hosting jeep tours. Isla Iguana, a neighborhood in Puerto Vallarta, is also located in the Marina area.

Off the Caribbean coast, the Cozumel weather has created a breeding ground for the lizards on the island, and you can occasionally see them scamper into the vegetation when you pass by. Signor Iguana, named after the indigenous lizards, is a popular restaurant on the island, perfect for a pit stop after participating in amazing scuba diving or snorkeling in Cozumel.

Regardless of their cultural relevancy, these creatures are no danger to tourists, and almost never attack unless they feel threatened. These reptilians are beautiful and bountiful throughout Mexican country and although large-scale hunting and egg-collecting activities threaten wild iguana populations, the biggest threat to their existence is habitat loss. As the rain forests disappear, so to do green iguanas. Although they are not currently listed as endangered, they are certainly at risk, along with all the other inhabitants of these forests.

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