Identification: Spiny-tailed Iguanas (Ctenosaura hemilopha) are large, dark-colored lizards with a long tail that is circled with numerous rings of short spines. Snout to vent length to about 12 inches; tail longer than body. Black crossbars on the body. A row of upright scales forms a short crest on the neck, and shorter upright scales run down the back. Juveniles bright green.
Taxonomy: Iguana Family (Iguanidae).
Diet: Omnivorous; eats what it can catch, including plant material, bugs, lizards, and rodents.
Habitat: Rocky desert scrub and subtropical forest.
Range: Native populations from Mexico to Panama. These photographs were taken at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum near Tucson, AZ. This species was introduced on museum grounds in the 1970s.
If you were a tasty flower or little lizard, this might be the last face you ever see!
Spiny-tailed Iguana; notice the spiny rings on the tail
Spiny-tailed Iguana; note detail of spiny rings on the tail