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Iguanas See Green Due to New Outside Enclosure

One of the larger iguanas at Black Beauty Ranch, enjoying a sunbath atop a branch inside their new enclosure.


The green iguanas at the Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch in Murchison, Texas, have a new outdoor enclosure that doubles their living space and affords them access to the outdoors for much of the year. These bright-green lizards, native to Central and South America, will be able to bask in the sun, swim and bathe in a pool, and eat native grasses. Visitors to the ranch will be able to see them enjoying themselves in their new surroundings and behaving as iguanas do in the wild: climbing and keeping an eye on everything going on around them, especially their neighbors, the brown lemurs.

The 15 ranch iguanas were all pets whose owners decided that they were not up to the job of providing the big lizards with proper care. As most people discover after it’s too late, iguanas and other reptiles can grow rapidly and are difficult to house. Due to their need for tropical temperatures, iguanas require sources of heat spread throughout a large space to allow them to move under and away from the heat; their nutritional needs are very specific; and they require climbing space, resting space, and open space in order for all their biological needs to be met. 

Needs of Reptiles Hard to Meet...

Iguanas grow throughout their lives. Some at the ranch are young and only 16 inches long while others are "adult" and nearly four feet long. As is the case with most reptiles, the growth rate of an iguana depends upon the long-term temperature range in which it lives, and food supply. They do well in Texas because of the long warm months. Their new outdoor pool allows them to cool off when they get too warm, and gives them a more enriched environment.

COHAN ©2006
Younger iguanas are bright green, enabling them to blend in with the foliage of their habitats and therefore be better protected from predators.

Iguanas and other reptiles do not make good pets. As with all exotic and wild species marketed as pets, many individuals wind up in need of a place to go when owners realize that their pets are too demanding and potentially dangerous. The ranch iguanas are among the lucky few that have found a permanent home.

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Posted May 9, 2007