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What Eats An Iguana

Are you interested in learning more about iguanas and how they live in the wild?

Do you wonder how iguanas survive in the wild?

When you are exploring the world of the iguana, you might wonder:

What eats an iguana?

Iguanas have quite a few predators in the wild. Some of these include hawks, owls, snakes, feral cats, packs of dogs, and humans. With iguanas living a variety of habitats, they have a variety of predators.

Keep reading as we break down more about the predators an iguana will face in the wild. 

what eats an iguana

What Eats An Iguana?

Animals in the wild will all face predators throughout their lives.

Because the many species of iguanas live in a variety of habitats, including deserts, rainforests, and near water, they have a variety of predators to watch out for.

Animal Predators

An iguana in the wild faces an immense amount of dangers, from diseases to extreme weather and the most common of all predators. 

Most animals in the wild have a variety of natural predators, becoming part of a natural order.

For iguanas, those predators often include birds of prey, like hawks, eagles, and owls.

This is why iguanas in captivity might feel threatened and be nervous if you attempt to pick them up from above. 

Marine iguanas face dangers from water birds, including the heron.

Other predators they might encounter include snakes. 

It doesn’t matter in what environment an iguana is located; a snake is a common predator. 

In the rainforests, where green iguanas are found, boa constrictors will make a meal out of an unsuspecting iguana.

When it comes to a desert environment, there are a variety of venomous snakes which will attack and fill up on an iguana. 

While mammals like dogs, cats, and even rats are not natural predators, these animals have become invasive species in iguana’s natural habitats.

Iguanas have also become an invasive species in their own right, like the green iguana in Florida.

Feral dogs, cats, rats, and even raccoons will eat an iguana in these areas where iguana populations have exploded if they get the chance. 

Human Predators

By far, one of the most common predators an iguana might face is a human.

It might come as a surprise to hear humans are a major predator to iguanas, but in many areas, these animals are commonly eaten by people.

Because they are a popular choice for a meal, they have been dubbed the chicken of the trees. 

In Central and South America, green iguanas are so popular to eat; they are bred and raised on farms to meet the demand. 

Iguanas first came onto human’s radar as a food source at least 10,000 years ago, because it was readily available.

As a bonus, it was not as dangerous to capture as other animals humans were coming across. 

The meat from an iguana is said to be high in protein and low in fat and is regarded as a delicacy in places like Mexico and Central and South America.

Some U.S. restaurants will even offer recipes with an iguana on their menu. 

The meat is used in recipes like tacos, burritos, stews, and soups and offers a mild 

This might be weird to some of us, and especially for those who keep iguanas as pets, but ultimately we have to be aware there are cultural differences. 

How Does An Iguana Defend Itself Against These Predators?

Not every iguana who is attacked by these predators discussed above will fall victim to them.

It might come as a surprise to some, but iguanas don’t always run away from a fight.

Not only will they fight back when attacked, but they can hold their own in a fight. 

Iguanas have some powerful ways to fight off the predators they might come across. 

To start, their strong and powerful tail, making up over half of their body, is a great defense mechanism.

When attacked, the iguana will whip their tail to strike at the predator to escape capture.

And the strike packs a punch.

Owners have been known to have broken bones when their pet iguana got too aggressive and hit them with the full force of their tail.

This does not happen to iguana owners often, but because of the strength in their tail, there is always the possibility.

In addition to being incredibly strong, an iguana’s tail is also sharp, making it the best weapon the iguana has.

The whipping motion is also a distraction to the predator and can help the iguana escape. 

In some cases, the tail will detach from the iguana.

This is a great way for an iguana to get away if the predator has the iguana pinned down by the tail.

Not only does the tail detach, but it also will continue to wriggle and move as an added distraction giving the iguana the opportunity to getaway. 

Don’t worry, the tail will grow back on an iguana, though it will be slightly shorter than the original and often a darker color. 

In addition to their tail, iguanas have sharp teeth, spines and claws to help give them a chance when they fight back. 

Their jaws are extremely strong, adding extra power to the already dangerously sharp teeth.

Aside from all of those things, iguanas are very fast and agile creatures.

Iguanas are very fast, with the spiny-tailed iguana holding the record for the fastest reptile in the world, clocking in at speeds as high as 21 miles per hour.

Between the strong tail, sharp teeth, spines and claws, and their speed, it is no wonder these creatures don’t run from a fight.


No matter if they live in the desert or the rain forest, an iguana will be at risk to a variety of predators.

Birds, snakes, cats, dogs, and humans are just some of the predators ready to feast on iguanas.

We hope you have learned more about the animals who eat iguanas in the wild by reading this article.

Check out this article on sounds iguanas make.

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