We found this beauty while birding at the edge of an abandoned housing development in Belize City, Belize. He was nestled in a thicket of trees flanking a river, soaking up the sun. You can find the Iguana iguana here in its native territory just about anywhere in Belize, but surprisingly, they blend in.
This male was over four feet long, weighed at least eight pounds. As a cold-blooded reptile, they need the sunlight to raise their internal body temperature for metabolism stimulation. Light is so important to this reptile that they have the ability to see ultraviolet rays. They need the sun’s ultraviolet rays to manufacture Vitamin D which aids in absorbing calcium from the intestines. In addition, the green iguana has a photosensory organ called a parietal eye on the top of its head. It is sensitive to light changes and can detect movement, used as a protective mechanism for sensing predators.
Yesterday it was chilly out, here at home in the northern hemisphere. I stepped outside for a moment and found a patch of sun and turned my back to it and let it soak through me, and I thought of my friend the green iguana.