Today's Daily Doodle is in honor of a very special green iguana named Godzilla. Godzilla was rescued by Corbin Maxey, a nationally recognized animal expert, biologist, and television personality. Iguanas are among some of the most popular "exotic" pets in the USA and also some of the most difficult to care for properly. Most pet iguanas actually don't survive past the first year... Godzilla was with Corbin for over 9 years after being rescued!
Green Iguanas are originally from Central and South America, the Caribbean, and islands in the West Indies. They have found their way into several more countries such as Mexico and the Southern United States, including Hawaii. Green Iguanas are a protected species in Mexico due to dwindling populations, granting them special protections through Mexico's environmental governing institutions.
In stark contrast to Mexico, places like Texas and especially South Florida, iguanas are classified as an invasive species! There is a current news story about temperatures dipping below normal and dozens of iguanas falling from trees, frozen. Iguanas are population Florida likely because they were stowaways on boats from South and Central America or they were let go by pet owners who were not prepared to take care of them long term.
Even though green iguanas are herbivores, they are among the largest lizards in the Americas, with some males reaching over 6 feet and weighing up to 20 pounds! They are known for a furious tail whip and strong jaws with razor sharp teeth for protection. They generally live near water and are excellent swimmers. Though they look clumsy, iguanas are very quick and agile, and can detach their tails if all of the above fails against an enemy.
I have seen "wild" iguanas in trees, and honestly, I loved it! Seeing Corbin and Godzilla in various shows and in videos was always a pleasure, and I hope the fate of iguanas will be bright. Godzilla, you were one of a kind and will be missed.