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Andros Iguana


Scientific Name: Cyclura cychlura cychlura

IUCN Red List Status: Endangered

Description: The Andros Iguana is a large iguana reaching a length of nearly five feet from the snout to the end of the tail.  One of three subspecies of Northern Bahamian Rock Iguanas, the Andros Iguana is characterized as being dark gray to black overall with yellowish green to orange scales on the legs, crest, and especially the head.  In older males, yellow areas typically turn more orange-red in color. 

Distribution: This subspecies is found on Andros Island on the western edge of the Great Bahama Bank. Andros is the largest of the Bahamian islands.  Small subpopulations are located on associated satellite cays.

Habitat: One preferred habitat of this subspecies is under the open canopy of the pine barrens which offers a variety of food sources.  Limestone crevices, burrows dug in sandy soil, and hollows in dead trees provide retreats.  Juveniles and subadults can be arboreal and will utilize trees for basking and feeding.

Reproduction: Females may use termite mounds for nesting.

Notes:  Native to Andros, the largest island in The Bahamas, the Andros Iguana is the only iguana in The Bahamas (there are seven taxa here) that is not presently confined to small cays.  For this reason it faces unique pressures and threats. With large tracks of remote and isolated pine barrens, woodland scrub and mangrove flats where poaching is difficult to control, this iguana is subjected to heavy hunting pressures, particularly on the north island.   In fact, this is one of only a few species in the Caribbean where hunting for food is a major factor in their decline. Other threats include habitat loss and predation by feral animals.  Feral hogs root up nests and eat eggs, dogs kill adult iguanas and cats prey heavily on juveniles.  Snake predation has also emerged as a leading factor in high juvenile mortality. Strikingly beautiful, this species is the only iguana known where females use termite mounds as incubation chambers for their eggs.  Poorly studied until recently, aspects of this iguana's natural history are just starting to be understood. 

Read the Conservation Action Plan for the Andros Iguana.

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