Tuesday, November 6, 2012


Iguanas pose for the camera too.

People typically visit Dolphin Research Center to see our dolphins and California sea lions. However, there is another animal at DRC that gets a lot of attention; the iguana!

At DRC, we are committed to giving a forever home to all of our animals, and this includes the iguanas that have made themselves at home here on DRC grounds. Years ago, iguanas were released from their families’ home and now they reside in the Florida Keys even though they are not native animals, rather they are considered invasive.  DRC has an extensive spay/neuter program to help keep the population under control. To those of us who are used to them, they’re just another part of DRC’s family. To visitors from other areas, even other countries, they’re absolutely fascinating. It’s a daily occurrence to see cameras pointed towards an iguana.

The green iguana can weigh up to 18 pounds and can reach a length of five to seven feet. Although, none of the iguanas currently living at DRC are that large, a couple are still larger than a small dog. Its hard, long tail is used for balance, but also as a weapon. We always tell guests to stay far enough away when walking behind them because if they whip their tail, it can be extremely painful.

You may be wondering, do the dolphins and iguanas get along together? Dolphins seem to be very interested in them and it isn’t rare to see an iguana swimming in a lagoon filled with curious dolphins. When this happens, the dolphins go crazy and love to follow it in the water. Every once in a while, a dolphin will bump at the iguana to give it a little scare, but for the most part the dolphins are just inquisitive about this strange little animal swimming in their world.

If you see an iguana on our grounds, feel free to take pictures but don’t get too close. They are still wild animals and should not be fed or pet. They’re pretty content to pose for a photo and mosey on their way.