Ctenosaura similis, Mexican Spiny Tailed Iguana
Spiny Tailed Iguanas mostly originate from Mexico and Central America. There are many different types of these iguanas in the whole family and their size can range from a few inches to well over two or three feet in length! They are called spiny tail because of the unusually large scales on the tail.
They are a very active species of lizard and because of their large size, they would make good pets for only very experienced lizard handlers. They are very prone to escaping! But if you start with a relatively young lizard and are patient and handle him gently and often, then you can gradually tame your pet. The older lizards are cranky and bad tempered and do not appreciate being handled.
Spiny Tailed Iguanas do not particularly wish to climb like their green iguana counterparts, but they will climb up a little way onto a promontory or branch in order to bask in the sun. Like all lizards, they are cold blooded and need an external source to warm them up. In their natural environment, they are naturally warmed by the sun. They will spend the warm morning, almost immobile, basking in the warm sunshine after a cold night spent in the dark. This makes them more active and they start to wake up and they can go off in search of food.
The young lizards eat mostly insects and are opportunistic omnivores. They will try to eat anything they come
Mexican Spiny Tailed Iguana eating flower
across that they can. As they grow larger, they become more herbivorous and eat mostly the plants and grasses which occur naturally with only the occasional meal of insects or small mammals.
When young, they are smaller and slightly greener, they have pronounced banding across their backs. As they grow older they change color and become more gray and brown and the bands become larger. Their tails become more pronouncedly scale and larger. It can be used as a very effective weapon. They have small crests along their head, smaller than a green iguana. They also have very sharp teeth and claws.
Spiny Tailed Iguanas are usually found in the ruins of buildings or living in stone walls and the edge of forests. Although they do look quite docile, watch out! These lizards are known to be the fastest species of reptile in the world. The fastest recorded speed achieved by one of these is over twenty-one miles an hour!