|The Andros Rock Iguana|
The Andros Rock Iguana is a large rock iguana , the males may grow to two to three feet long, although there are reports of this iguana reaching up to five feet in length. They are dark grey to black, with yellowish green or orange tinged scales on the legs, dorsal crest and particularly the head. With maturity the yellow slowly changes to orange-red, especially in large males. (Auffenberg 1976)
The Andros rock iguana is the only iguana in the Bahamas that is not confined to small cays. A preferred habitat of the Andros Rock Iguana is under the open canopy of the pine forest, especially where the land is broken into small islands separated by extensive mangrove and marl flats. The pine forest offers a variety of fruits, flowers and leaves suitable for the iguana’s consumption. The limestone rock provides suitable holes for the iguana to retreat into and shade to regulate their body temperature.
Sexual maturity occurs when Rock Iguanas are about six to nine years old. Breeding takes place in early spring. At this time mature males are more brightly coloured than at any other time. In June the females lay between three and twelve white, leathery eggs, usually in shallow burrows in the sand. In approximately three months the young will hatch and dig their way to the surface.
On Andros wild hogs, feral cats and dogs are severe threats to iguanas as they are known to rout out eggs from iguana nests and attack the juvenile and adult animals. Also there remains the threat of iguanas being harvested by man for food and for the pet trade.
All Rock Iguanas in The Bahamas are protected wild animals. The Andros Rock Iguana is listed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature as near extinction and rare. However no areas have been specifically designated for the protection of iguanas on Andros, it is felt that south Andros holds the greatest potential for iguana conservation as the isolated cays support the largest pines in The Bahamas, lack feral animals and are far from human settlements, roads and commercial logging.
Rock iguanas used to be eaten by early inhabitants of The Bahamas. Today it is illegal to harm or capture a Rock iguana.
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Photos generously donated by Chuck Knapp TNC and Rivean Riley BNT
Grants received in 2015 from :
Eco Ed Foundation, Tucker Foundation, Caribsave, Paradise Children’s Fund, Moore Bahamas Foundation, Lyford Cay Foundation, Scotia Bank, Commonwealth Bank, Cable Bahamas Cares Foundation and Idea Wild.