IGUANAS

Iguanas are part of Guadeloupe. Some people claim not having encountered any of them, which seems very difficult to believe as there are all over, except perhaps in major hotels.

Actually there are several kinds of iguanas in Guadeloupe. The most common, present on the principal islands, is the common iguana or hybrid iguana.

It is everywhere, small or large on coconut trees, in the rocks, on the beaches, by the pools ... even in your room! This is a very common animal on the South American continent and the West Indies.

 

But there is a increasingly rare endemic species of the small West Indies, the Iguana Delicatissima.

 

You will not encounter this one on the main islands (or very rarely) for in Guadeloupe, which houses the most significant population in the Caribbean, it is present on Petite Terre and Désirade, towards the Colibris cape.

 

This species is endangered and a preservation plan has been launched. The hazard does not come from certain predator, but from the encounter with the common iguanas, very present in Basse Terre, Grande Terre and les Saintes, and hybridization which destroys the race. Petite Terre makes a perfect reserve, preserved from the introduction of the common or hybrid iguana.

 

Species are very easy to differentiate: Iguana Delicatissima is uniformly colored, except for the head which whitens together with age, especially in males. Overall hue can be gray, occasionally tending towards green. In contrast the common or hybrid iguana is a lot greener and the tail features darker rings along its length. It has also on each side of the head two bony scutes below the eardrums. Some examples of iguanas:

ENDEMIC IGUANA DELICATISSIMA

Click on each picture to view full size and start the diaporama

COMMON HYBRID IGUANA

Click on each picture to view full size and start the diaporama

COMMON IGUANA AT POMPIERRE BEACH, LES SAINTES

iguane, les saintes, guadeloupe, pompierre