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Green Iguanas Found In The Wild In Singapore And Thailand

The common green iguana (Iguana iguana), once the most popular lizard with reptile keepers and native to Mexico, southern Brazil and Paraguay, has bee

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The common green iguana (Iguana iguana), once the most popular lizard with reptile keepers and native to Mexico, southern Brazil and Paraguay, has been found in the wild in Singapore and Thailand, most likely as a result of the international reptile trade. The beautiful lizard, which has been established in the state of Florida for decades, can easily reproduce in several regions in Southeast Asia, according to the paper “The continuing march of Common Green Iguanas: arrival on mainland Asia,” and published in ScienceDirect.

The research paper, authored by Matthijs P. vanden Burg (Department of Biology, University of Puerto Rico), Steven M.Van Belleghem (Department of Biogeography and Global Change, Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, Spanish National Research Council), and Christina N. De Jesús Villanueva (College of Environmental and Life Science, University of Rhode Island), document sightings of this large, arboreal and largely herbivorous reptile in the two Southeast Asian countries. The researchers relied on digital footage and interviews with folks who have seen the reptiles roaming free.


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“We use this information to report and discuss an ongoing invasion with early stage establishment being facilitated by release of pets and escape from recreational parks, as well as the resulting conservation implications,” the researchers wrote in their paper. “Using species-distribution modeling to assess the potential distribution in Southeast Asia, we identify large regions with suitable habitat that could aid the expansion of these alien populations in the absence of future control measures.”

Because of the iguana’s excellent swimming capability, Sumatra island in the Indonesian archipelago could be at risk of the reptile gaining a foothold. Green iguanas have also bee sighted in Peninsular Malaysia and Hong Kong.

The authors also noted that the Philippines has well-suited habitat in which this species can become established, and with the high number of imported iguanas for the pet hobby, the researchers ask for awareness of potential future invasive populations in the Philippines.


The authors have provided information on how to mitigate he establishment of green iguanas as well as information on how to prevent future releases and spread of the reptile.

Green Iguana Quick Information

The green iguana was one of the first lizard species kept as pets, back when not a lot was known about their husbandry. Thanks to better husbandry and knowledge about this species, these reptiles are living longer lives for those who keep them. They grow large and are for experienced keepers only. They are a magnificent looking reptile and are plant eaters.