Exclusively available on the Fijian islands, the Fiji banded iguana (Brachylophus bulabula) are tree-dwelling lizards. The beautiful green-colored species is diurnal so they spend all their day foraging in forests, protecting their territory, feeding on leaves and flowers, and strolling and enjoying the warmth of the sun. The green color of the iguanas helps them to camouflage.
This species, native to the Fijian islands, is presently extremely endangered due to the presence of predators who prey on these reptiles, their eggs and mostly from uncontrolled human activities. Apart from habitat loss and the introduction of predators, their high demand in the pet trade is one of the reasons for their vulnerable status on the Fijian islands. These iguanas are known to be one most intelligent reptile species yet very calm and composed. They possess a sharp memory and excellent recognition skills as they respond to their owners through sights and sounds.
The Fiji banded iguana is a species of lizard belonging to the family of Iguanidae.
The Fiji banded iguana belongs to the class Reptilia.
The numbers are alarmingly small with 10,000 adults or even less in the Fijian islands.
Fiji banded iguanas are found in the Fijian archipelago. They can be located in Vanua Levu, Lau Islands, and the islands of Cikobia and Mali; also in the islands of Viti Levu. Additionally, Fiji banded iguana populations have been introduced in places like Vanuatu and Tonga.
The habitat of the species includes rocky areas, shrublands, wet and dry forests, and swamps. They are tree-dwelling reptiles and require habitats that are abundant with trees.
Although the species is known to form pairs, they mostly dwell solitarily.
The average life span of the Fiji iguanas is about 10-15 years in the wilderness but they can outlive the range and live up to 25 years when maintained under a protected zoo environment.
Both the male and female Fiji iguanas gain sexual maturity at two to three years. The ideal season for breeding is in the month of November. The males try to woo their counterparts by engaging in courtship rituals that involve actions like bobbing the head and flicking their tongue. After copulation, the female goes on to construct the nest by digging burrows, laying around three to six eggs, and guarding them against predators until they hatch. The incubation period is for seven to nine months. The hatchlings are not dependent on their parents for food as they feed on the moisture that they derive from wet leaves.
As per the computations of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, the Fiji banded iguanas are an endangered species.
The iguana species primarily comes in vibrant green shades where the males exhibit the banded stripes that are blue or light green in color and the females possess pale white to blue streaks. Both genders possess small spikes or spines on their backs and long tails.
For a wildlife photographer, a Fiji banded iguana can be appealing for its charm and emerald green shades while few others might possess a distaste for the species. Therefore, the concept of cuteness largely differs from person to person.
This species engages in a unique mode of communication and it doesn't involve any vocalizations. These creatures express themselves through motions like bobbing the head, vigorous whipping of the tail, expanding or contracting their dewlaps, and other motions. For instance, males often enlarge their dewlaps while trying to impress females during the courtship process. When threatened, they engage in whipping their tails violently.
Their average length is about 22-24 in (56-61 cm). They are smaller than blue iguanas that stand at an average of 20-30 in (51-76 cm) minus the tail.
Generally, iguanas are agile. Their maximum movement speed has been recorded at 21 mph (34 kph).
Fiji banded iguanas are very lightweight with their weight ranging from 0.3-0.4 lb (150-200 g).
The term iguana has its roots in the Spanish language where it comes from the word 'iwana'. The Spanish are heard calling the males ministro or even garrobo.
Interestingly, since the babies of the banded iguanas hatch from eggs, they are regarded as hatchlings after birth. In Spanish countries, the babies are commonly called garrobito or iguanita.
Unlike most other lizards, the Fiji banded iguanas are mainly herbivorous. Their diet comprises leaves, flowers, and fruits. However, they can also survive on small insects on rare occasions.
Another astonishing fact about iguanas is that they possess venom glands but are not poisonous. The venom produced by the iguana is not at all lethal due to which the lizard is reared by many fanciful pet owners. However, it must be remembered that these reptiles possess serrated teeth with a sharpness that has the potential to inflict tremendous pain with a single jab.
Generally, iguanas are reared by innumerable enthusiasts and lizard collectors as they make decent pets. They can be trained to sit, sleep, or eat just like a pet dog, and to top that they are affectionate and like to cuddle. Nevertheless, there are exceptions where some iguanas exhibit aggressive nature and are difficult to handle. The Fiji banded iguanas must not be kept enclosed in homely spaces as they are creatures of the wild. They need to be preserved and protected more than being reared as pets.
Kidadl Advisory: All pets should only be bought from a reputable source. It is recommended that as a potential pet owner you carry out your own research prior to deciding on your pet of choice. Being a pet owner is very rewarding but it also involves commitment, time and money. Ensure that your pet choice complies with the legislation in your state and/or country. You must never take animals from the wild or disturb their habitat. Please check that the pet you are considering buying is not an endangered species, or listed on the CITES list, and has not been taken from the wild for the pet trade.
The Fiji banded iguana (Brachylophus bulabula) is diurnal, which implies that all their activities are carried out during the daytime while at night they rest just like human beings.
A unique characteristic of the iguanas is that they can get rid of their tail when it gets caught by predators (like rats) and it grows back! They even shed their skin!
On Fiji, the banded iguana is among the three species of iguanas currently in existence refuting the previous belief that vouched for the prevalence of only one iguana species on the Fijian islands. Similar to the banded iguana, the Fiji crested iguana is also threatened with alarmingly dwindling numbers.
Fiji banded iguanas are noiseless reptiles. They do not communicate through sounds but express through gestures like head bobbing and tail whipping.
The population of this species has been decreasing drastically since the last half-century. The reason for their diminishing numbers has been attributed to habitat destruction that roots out from several human activities like extensive agricultural practices, mining, road building, and others. Moreover, the introduction of predators such as black cats, mongoose, and feral cats on the Fijian islands has contributed to a further decline in their populations as they prey on the reptiles as well as their eggs.
Fiji banded iguana care is indispensable for its preservation. The Fijian government has enforced strict laws for protecting the reptile from the face of extinction.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these sand lizard facts, and gila monster facts.
You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our Fiji bended lguana coloring pages.