This reptile mates during the dry season to ensure that the offspring (between 10 and 30 for each lay) are born in the rainy season, the eggs hatch 3 or 4 months after incubation
The green iguana or common iguana is a reptile typical of Central and South America. This species can also be found in various islands of the Caribbean and the east coast of the Pacific, as well as in Florida and Hawaii. In this article we will talk about everything you should know about the reproduction of the iguana, which could be your pet.
The common iguana: habitat and morphology
The common iguana lives on the tree cover of the forests and jungles of Central and South America. Depending on their age, the iguanas decide to be in the highest or most central branches of the tree of their choice. The larger the iguana, the higher the branch on which you live.
Their arboreal environment allows them not only to have aextensive control over its territory, but also enjoy the sun's rays, since otherwise the vegetation cover would impede the entry of light.
As for its morphology, an adult specimen can weigh between four and eight kilos in weight, and measure up to two meters. Despite his name, The pigmentation of your skin is variable, although it becomes progressively more uniform with age.
Halfway between green and brown, the common iguana can change the color of your skin depending on the temperature, your physical condition or your mood swings. The most dominant iguanas tend to have a darker color.
The so-called ‘Parietal eye’, an organ located in the dorsal half of the iguana skull, is a sensory organ that it measures the sunlight of its surroundings and contributes to the maturation of the sexual organs, the thyroid gland and the endocrine glands.
Sexual maturation and reproduction of the iguana
Most of the common female iguanas reach sexual maturity between three and four years of age, although sometimes this may occur at earlier ages. The mating season usually takes place in the dry season, which guarantees that the young are born during the rainy season.
The common iguana exhibits sexual behavior consistent with the practice of polyginandria. This type of practice includes a group of males that mates exclusively with two or more females. One of the positive aspects of polyginandria is that It fosters a cooperative breeding method that includes both parents.
During courtship, the male expands and contracts the double chin, bites the female's neck and moves her neck from top to bottom. One of the peculiarities of iguana reproduction is that the female can store the sperm of the male for yearsYfertilize the eggs long after intercourse.
The laying of eggs occurs 65 days after mating. The laying lasts about three days, and takes place in a series of nests excavated at a depth of 45 centimeters. It is quite common for females to share nests.
The eggs hatch after a period of between 90 and 120 days of incubation. They are usually born between 10 and 30 offspring. Once they are born, parents often get rid of them very quickly.
This is the reproduction of iguanas
Iguanas that lead pet life, that is, that live in captivity, breed in winter, especially between the months of November and January.
How is the ritual? Before beginning the reproduction of iguanas as such, they go through a procession process. During this, both iguanas move their heads and tails in order to draw attention to each other, in addition, in these movements, the male will take advantage to mount the female. In this process, the male engages by grabbing the female's legs and biting her neck, so that she cannot escape. If the female is receptive, will lift the tail to facilitate it. This act lasts between 10 and 45 minutes.
What happens next?
The reproduction of the iguanas continues with the gestation after riding. Before mating, the female stops eating, but continues to drink plenty of water to hydrate. Once the female has been inseminated, she eats again to have enough nutrients and form her eggs well. If you have iguanas at home, you have to take special care of their diet during this stage.
The gestation of the eggs lasts approximately two months. After this time, You can lay between 10 and 70 eggs. In her terrarium she prepares wet peat soil for her to form the nest, she will spawn and bury them there. But they can't stay there! If you leave the eggs inside the terrarium with the iguanas, the father will eat them. You have to take them out carefully so as not to break them and place them in an incubator, always with the same distribution with which their mother placed them.
The end of the reproduction of the iguanas, the birth of the young
The iguanitas they will start to come out of the eggs between 90 and 120 days after being spawned. You should leave them in an incubator for at least one day, and then, having previously cleaned and sterilized the terrarium, you can join them with their parents.
It is very important that the temperature and humidity of the incubator are adequate. The idea is that it has a daytime temperature between 28 and 31 degrees and the night temperature of 25 and 27 degrees. To get moisture, vaporize several times a day just like you do in the terrarium. This is essential so that the eggs can be incubated well.
Conclude at home the entire process of iguana reproduction is not easy, but if you take the necessary measures you can get it. Anyway, Remember that letting pets reproduce is a big responsibility. If your iguanas have babies, you should take care of them for as long as necessary and then find them a home. Do not give up! If you are not willing to do so, you better avoid reproduction.
The female iguana of reproductive age needs special care. It happens that before starting the mating period, the female stops feeding, at least two weeks in advance, and will not do so until the process is completely completed.
Such a situation forces the iguana owner to pay great attention to the feeding of the female pet, before the mating period begins.
However, it is important to know that although during the mating period the female does not eat, she does drink plenty of water. This should be used to dilute calcium in the liquid. It is also important that the water is kept fresh and clean.
Two months after mating, the female iguana will lay around 80 eggs. In the natural state, the iguana looks for a soft ground where to dig a hole that will serve as a nest for its eggs, which will be covered so that between 50 and 100 days the creatures are born.
When the iguana finishes digging to lay the eggs it is usually thin and dehydrated. Water, food and vitamins should be reinforced from that moment. If you cannot do so due to a shortage of force, you should be given calcium water using a syringe without a needle.
For their part, male iguanas become more aggressive and care is required to manipulate them as they can bite and hit with the tail. At that stage the male focuses his attention on protecting his territory, to the detriment of vital activities such as feeding, drinking water and defecating in the water.
Male iguanas usually become more aggressive and less manageable during this stage and as you can imagine, an adult iguana can do a lot of damage, so we must be prepared and handle it with caution.
In captivity, the laying of eggs should be planned well. Therefore, the owner can install a bed of sand coated with wet peat, at the bottom of the terrarium. In this environment it is recommended to collect the eggs and place them in an incubator to, first, prevent the male from eating them. When making this transit, care should be taken not to alter the position that the egg had in the terrarium.
The appearance of the eggs of an iguana is similar to that of a pinball, because of its size, white color and oval shape. They also require specific temperatures in the incubator: 28ºC to 31ºC during the day, and 25ºC and 27ºC at night.
When the iguanitas are born, they must remain one day in the incubator, to later incorporate them into the terrarium where their parents are, and which, of course, must be clean.
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If we have a couple of iguana, male and female, these will mate. Iguanas in captivity mate between the dates between November and January.
Coupling occurs before mating. Courtship consists of head and tail movements by both iguanas. In one of those movements, the male will try to ride the female. If the female iguana is receptive, she will leave it and facilitate the mating act.
The act of mating is that the male iguana will ride the female iguana several times. During that act, the female iguana will lift its tail to facilitate mating and the male iguana will bite the female iguana in the neck. In turn, the male iguana will hold the tail of the female with one of its legs. The act lasts between 10 minutes to 45 minutes.
The females, before the period of reproduction will stop feeding, like two weeks before and will not feed during that period of reproduction. You have to feed the iguana female before this period begins. It will only begin to feed after being mated where we will have to start feeding it again so that it makes the eggs.
During the playback period, even without feed, you will drink a lot of water, which means you will need plenty of water, clean and fresh. If in the water we can provide liquid calcium, better than better.
After two months, the female will lay between 10 and 70 eggs. We will provide the female iguana with a bed of fine sand and wet peat so that the female iguana will mount the place where she will lay her eggs and cover them.
We have to get those eggs from terrarium so that the male iguana does not eat them. We will have to carefully remove the eggs so as not to break them and put them in an incubator. We must place the eggs in the same way and distribution that the mother placed them.
The eggs are the size of white and oval-shaped pin pong balls.
After 90 to 120 days, the iguanas will begin to be born. The iguanas will remain in the incubator for 1 day, after that day we will incorporate them into the terrarium, which we must have clean and sterilized.
I have to say that coming to fruition in iguana reproduction is quite complicated. The good development of the eggs will depend a lot on the temperature and humidity that we have in the incubator where we have placed the eggs of the female iguana.
The incubator must maintain a daytime temperature between 28º to 31º and night temperature between 25º and 27º
If the temperature fails, the eggs will not come to a good end.