The Iguana Foundation estimates the total population of Fijian Crested Iguana’s at around 13 000
The Fijian Crested Iguana is a large and stocky lizard ranging from 70 – 80 cm in length
The species can weigh anything from 300 to 350 grams
They are mostly found on the island of Yadua Taba, a 4 square mile island in Fiji. . The Fijani Crested Iguana can also be found on some of the other islands in Fiji. The Iguana Foundation estimates about 12 000 of the 13 000 Fijian Crested Iguana’s are found on Yadua Taba and the balance of the Iguanas are scattered amongst the other islands in smaller numbers.
The Fijian Crested Iguana is a lizard and is recognisable for its brilliant green body with three white stripes. These white stripes are often bordered by black. They have distinctive 1 – 2 centimetre crests running across their backs. There are yellow patches around their nostrils and at the front of their mouths. The males and females look exactly the same. Their long strong toes and tail helps them balance on branches and move from tree to tree.
The Fijian Crested Iguana behaviour consists of:
- The Iguanas change colour when threatened. Their normal colour is bright green when relaxed, dark green when they are getting upset and black indicates they feel extremely threatened.
- They will expand their neck, bob their head and pounce forward should the change of colour not deter the threat.
- They are diurnal animals and stay awake all day.
- The species has a life span of between 10 to 15 years
- The Fiji Crested Iguana lay about 4 leathery eggs in shallow burrows between March and April.
- The eggs have a long incubation period of about 9 months and the female guards the eggs until they hatch.
- The hatchlings are dark green, but change to the normal bright green colour within hours.
The Fijian Crested Iguana is herbivorous and eats leaves, fruit and flowers from trees and shrubs. They particularly love the hibiscus flowers from the Vau tree and they will sometimes eat small insects.
The Iguana is an arboreal lizard and they spend all their time in the shade of trees. They prefer dry forest habitats, but are also found in coastal forests.
The biggest threats to the Fijian Crested Iguana is habitat destruction, illegal trade, introduced goats that graze on native trees and feral cats, rats, dogs and mongoose. Fires, the use of land for coconut plantations, gardens, grass land and tourist resorts also resulted in their loss of habitat.
The island of Yadua Taba was declared a protected sanctuary for the Fijian Crested Iguana by the Fiji National Trust. The island was cleared of goats and predators and can only be visited with permission. Numerous conservation efforts are implemented on the islands of Fiji to protect the Fijian Crested Iguana from extinction.