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Iguanas Anoles and Relatives: Iguanidae

Cape Spinytail Iguana (ctenosaura Hemilopha): Species Accounts

Physical characteristics: Cape spinytail iguanas are gray-brown, large, stocky, wrinkled lizards. They have a ridged, long tail and a crest of scales along the top of the back. Males have a larger crest than do females. An adult can reach 3 feet (1 meters) in length from the head to the tip of the tail.

Geographic range: Cape spinytail iguanas are found in northwestern Mexico, including the state of Sonora, and the islands of the Gulf of California.

Habitat: Cape spinytail iguanas live in areas with many rocky crevices, or cracks; these areas often also have trees.

Cape spinytail iguanas live in areas with many rocky crevices, often also with trees. (©Bud Lehnhausen/Photo Researchers, Inc. Reproduced by permission.)

Diet: Cape spinytail iguanas eat flowers, fruits, and leaves. They feed only during the day.

Behavior and reproduction: Cape spinytail iguanas are territorial, protecting their dwelling areas. If threatened, they usually run into rocky crevices. If such a hiding place is not available, they can fight with their jaws and legs. These lizards usually live in groups. Each group has a dominant male, one who acts as leader. There are also less-strong males and several females. After mating, females lay twenty-four or more eggs in a group. The eggs hatch in about three months.

Cape spinytail iguanas and people: These iguanas are sold in the pet trade.

Conservation status: Cape spinytail iguanas are not threatened. ∎

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceDinosaurs, Snakes, and Other ReptilesIguanas Anoles and Relatives: Iguanidae - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Conservation Status, Cape Spinytail Iguana (ctenosaura Hemilopha): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, IGUANIDS AND PEOPLE