Land iguanas are common in the Galapagos. They are large, over a metre in length and males can weigh up to 13kgs. They can live for over 50 years.
There are 2 species of land iguanas in the Galapagos, including the Santa Fe iguana. They tend to be pale in colour and have pointed noses. The male has a row of spines on his head, neck and along his back. Some gain red colour upon maturity, at about 12 years of age. Females are smaller and less colourful and have smaller spines.
Land iguanas live in colonies although they can be found alone. They inhabit the drier areas of the islands, seeking shade in the heat of the day. At night they sleep in burrows they dig themselves, conserving their body heat. They feed on plants, shrubs and cactus fruits near the ground. Males are territorial and will flight intruders. They breed at different times of year on different islands. The female lays between 2 and 25 eggs in a burrow in the sand, which don’t hatch till about 3-4 months later. Some hybrids with marine iguanas have been found on South Plaza but these do not appear to live long.
The Santa Fe land iguana is pale yellow in colour with brown spots on its back and sides. it has a larger spines that the land iguana, the male having more extensive spines than the female. Some adult males develop red eyes. The scales on the head are larger than those on the body. Its behaviour, eating and breeding patterns are similar to the land iguana.