Melissa Kaplan's
Herp Care Collection
Last updated January 1, 2014

Size Doesn't Matter

©2002 Melissa Kaplan


Most people think that the bigger the iguana, the higher the status. They think that, if two iguanas are put together or otherwise allowed access to one another, that the larger iguana will always be the one to attack or intimidate the smaller one.


Size clearly doesn't matter, as the smaller iguana successfully puts a bigger visitor firmly in place.  Photo by Des Wong, 2000.
Photo © 2000 Desiree Wong

Rugwort may be familiar to some readers. Rescued at age 22 months with a 7" SVL, he grew to a whopping 13" SVL, his spine and head permanently deformed as a result of severe and prolonged metabolic bone disease. He had evidence of at least two previous tail drops and regrowths when he arrived. A couple of years later, he was bitten on the new tail growth which resulted in dry gangrene setting in, and so that part of the tail was amputated. Rugwort was the omega iguana in my group of iguanas. As the years passed and I stopped doing iguana rescue, he eventually became my only green iguana. Soon after I got Mikey, a then 6.5" SVL Cyclura iguana, Rugwort slipped into beta status, with the occasional omega day.

On the day this photo was taken, Sue Solomon, and her iguana Adam Ig, came to visit. I had previously met Adam Ig in person at his and Sue's home, a place where Adam Ig reigned as the colorful alpha male. At my house, however, he was not just outside of his own territory, he was in someone else's territory: Rugwort's. Despite the size difference, Rugwort wasted no time making certain that Adam Ig understood just what his position was in Rugwort's territory. Note Adam Ig's dull stress colors, while Rugwort is a vibrant dominant male orange, a color rarely seen on him when he was one of a group of iguanas all living here.


Related Articles

Testosterone, Aggression and Green Iguanas

Testosterone Rules

Iguana Care, Feeding & Socialization

Iguanas for Dummies, Chapter 4 (If One Iguana Is Good, Are More Better?)

Need to update a veterinary or herp society/rescue listing?

Can't find a vet on my site? Check out these other sites.

Amphibians Conservation Health Lizards Resources
Behavior Crocodilians Herpetology Parent/Teacher Snakes
Captivity Education Humor Pet Trade Societies/Rescues
Chelonians Food/Feeding Invertebrates Plants Using Internet
Clean/Disinfect Green Iguanas & Cyclura Kids Prey Veterinarians
Home About Melissa Kaplan CND Lyme Disease Zoonoses
Help Support This Site   Emergency Preparedness

Brought to you thanks to the good folks at Veterinary Information Network, Inc.

© 1994-2014 Melissa Kaplan or as otherwise noted by other authors of articles on this site