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Some Facts about Desert Iguana

By John Simmons TEXT SIZE Minus Plus

The desert iguana (Dipsosaurus Dorsalis) is 10 to 16 inches long when fully grown. It has a large, round body with a long tail. In fact, the tail of the desert iguana is longer than its body. Described as "blunt-headed", desert iguanas have very distinct coloring patterns. The head of the desert iguana is colored brown. This coloration diffuses into reddish brown pattern which could be described as looking like a net.

The desert iguana has gray spots on the trunk and neck. Desert iguanas also have dark spots on their white or gray tails. A row of dorsal scales are located down the center of the back of the desert iguana.

As can be gleamed from its common name, the desert iguana lives in arid desert regions. Desert iguanas are commonly found in the Sonoran and Mojave deserts founding the southwest of the United States. They are also located in Northwestern Mexico and some islands on the Gulf of California. In the southern part of its habitat, the desert iguana usually lives in arid subtropical areas and deciduous forests.

In the desert, these animals can usually be found around the range of the creosote bush. The desert iguana makes use of the creosote bush for shelter and for food. There are also several cases of desert iguanas moving into the abandoned lairs of kangaroo rats.

They are hardy animals, often active even when other lizards have already retreated from the heat. They are also inclined to burrow into the soil near creosote bushes.

Desert iguanas are primarily herbivorous. This means that they are inclined to eat plant matter. They will eat bud, leaves and fruits of many types of perennial or annual plants that are found in their habitats. They are especially attracted to the yellow flowers of the creosote plant.

As said before, desert iguanas remain active even during intense heat. However, if the heat proves too much, a desert iguana will climb bushes in order to seek cooler temperatures. They are very quick and they can often be seen crossing roads just before an oncoming car. When a desert iguana runs at these speeds, it often does so on two legs. It folds its front legs near its body and uses its powerful hind legs to propel it forward.

Like other animals, desert iguanas have natural enemies. In fact, even before they hatch, there area lot of animals which would eat iguana eggs. A mature desert iguana also has different birds of prey as its natural enemy.

Other common enemies of the desert iguana are small animals such as rats, weasels, foxes and snakes. Of course, man is also one common enemy of the iguana. Many a desert iguana has fallen prey to the automobile. These desert iguanas are now referred to as "roadkill" by the human beings who drive these machines carelessly and without regard for the lives of small animals.

These are just some facts about desert iguanas. As you can see, there are many things about them that people need to know. Hopefully, these facts have opened your eyes and have shown you that desert iguanas are so much more than stupid medium sized lizards. By learning all you can about desert iguanas, you will soon be able to fully appreciate their beauty.

About the Author
Information on iguana facts can be found at the Iguana Care site.

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