Wild Encounters

Wild Encounters: Grand Cayman Blue Iguana

Micah: Welcome into another edition of Wild Encounters.  I’m here with Karyn and we're talking about a really cool unique creature, you don't find many of them in the wild. But we're working on that. It is the Grand Cayman blue iguana, a long name for a cool creature. Tell us a little about these Grand Cayman blue iguana.

Karyn: Alright so they’re from the Grand Cayman Islands, which is down in the Caribbean, and they can grow about five…a little over five feet long. They can weigh up to about 25 pounds at some of the larger sized males that we've seen and they’re herbivorous feeders…so there are feeding mostly on plant material with a little bit of scavenging for insect as well.

Micah: And they're called blue iguanas but they're not exactly bright blue per se, but still a really cool color pattern feature on.

Karyn: Yeah. So actually, their blue color is accentuated during the breeding season. So when the male is  trying to attract the females, they kind of flash those brighter blue colors. It can also be a threat to other animals and accentuate that color and become brighter than you may see the ones on exhibit. And we have a male and female here on exhibit along and they just had babies.

Micah: So we have four new baby iguana… tell us about those.

Kayrn: Yeah. So, at the beginning of August, we just hatched for baby blue iguanas and this is the second time we at Riverbanks have hatched them in the past about nine years.  We've got two out on exhibit right now and their incubation period is about 70 to 80 days. So when we get those eggs we gotta wait about 70-80 days to see those babies.

Micah: And conservation of course…we talk about all the time is huge here Riverbanks Zoo. But in this case, extra important because the numbers for these specific…they’re almost gone in the wild and now through conservation programs, through captive breeding you've been able to bring them back, right?

Karyn: So in the early 2000s on the Grand Cayman islands, there was about maybe a dozen iguanas left and through breeding programs on the island and here at AZA zoos with SSP programs, they've actually been able to release and have about 700 to 1000 iguanas now on the island.

Micah: That's amazing folks going from 12 on the island up to almost 1000. That's the cool kinds of things that AZA zoos can do to bring animals back from the brink of extinction. And of course Riverbanks Zoo on the forefront of that. So come down here to Riverbanks Zoo. Check out the Grand Cayman blue iguanas and their new babies on exhibit.  We’ll see you next time.

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