Conolophus subcristatus                 Iguanidae family

HABITAT: Arid low altitude portions of the islands.

 APPEARANCE: Iguanas have distinctive eyelids, external eardrums, dewlaps (throat pouches), each limb has 5 toes with sharp claws allowing them to climb.  Charles Darwin described the Galapagos Land Iguana as “ugly animals, of a yellowish orange beneath, and of a brownish-red color above: from their low facial angle they have a singularly stupid appearance”.

C.subcristatus   grows  to approximately 3 ft (1 m) in length and weigh up to 25 pounds.

DIET: The mainstay of its diet is the prickly pear cactus. They eat the pads and fruit including the spines. The cactus provides both food and water for the land iguana, making it possible to survive without fresh water for a year.  C. subcristatus  are also opportunistic carnivores supplementing their diet with insects, centipedes and carrion.

REMARKS: Part of the adaptation to the drier environment includes a conservation of energy by slow movement. This makes the animals seem lazy or stupid. Land iguanas burrow into the ground creating tunnels which provides a place for nesting, shade during the day and protection at night.