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Land Iguana: Part 1

This lizard can grow to be about four feet long — about the size of a 4-year-old child — and can live to be 60 years old.

The iguana eats low-growing plants and shrubs including fallen cacti pads and fruit. Though they usually scrape off the cactus spines, sometimes they eat the whole cactus — spines and all — and it doesn’t affect their stomachs.

When Darwin visited the Galápagos in 1835, there were so many land iguana burrows — holes that the iguanas dig to sleep in at night to conserve heat — that he had to be careful where he stepped.

Today land iguanas on James Island (also known as Santiago Island) are extinct and on other islands they are endangered. Iguana populations were affected when humans brought animals like cats, dogs, and goats to the island. Cats hunt baby iguanas, dogs can kill adults, and goats eat the same vegetable food sources.
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