The Utila island iguana is named after the single island it inhabits; Utila, Honduras, Central America. It was once considered one of the rarest iguanas in existence, but efforts have been made worldwide to safeguard the species since it was on the brink of extinction in the 1990s.
Males are larger than females, have larger spines running down their backs and a small fold of loose skin hanging below their throats.
The Utila island iguana is mainly herbivore, feeding on plant matter, flowers and fruit, but it will also eat small invertebrates that inhabit its mangroves.
This species is endemic to the island of Utila, where it lives in a small area of mangrove forest. Adults tend to be found in the mangrove trees, whilst youngsters tend to inhabit the forest floor and smaller shrubs.
The Utila island iguana is a Critically Endangered species, vulnerable to many threats. As tourism on the island increases, the iguana’s habitat is being destroyed for the construction of houses, marinas and hotels.
Beach areas where the iguanas lay their eggs are being covered with invasive plants, making these areas unsustainable for the iguanas. The iguana is also hunted locally for its meat.
Utila island iguanas are a EAZA European Studbook species (ESB), and Bristol Zoo works hard together with other European zoos to continue the population of Utila island iguanas in human care.
These iguanas change colour as they grow, transforming from a uniform grey-brown when young to a more shimmering turquoise when fully grown.
You can find our Utila island iguana in the Reptile House, near Twilight World and the Aquarium
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