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|Grand Cayman Blue Iguana|
An adult Cayman blue iguana can grow up to 5 feet long and weigh over 25 pounds.
Only found in one particular geographic area, the Cayman Island blue iguana is endemic to Grand Cayman. The blue iguana primarily resides in the East interior of the island.
Not to be confused with the common “green” iguana, the Cayman Island blue iguana is a great, dragon-like lizard known for their blue-grayish hue. Along its back are even, stiff spines and can also be identified by its spiky cheeks and smooth throat. A blue iguana has blue-gray scales all over its body for protection from predators and to limit heat loss. In the early years of their life it is difficult to tell the difference between male and female juvenile blue iguanas.
The Cayman Island blue iguana occupies dry brush lands and shrub lands.
Primarily herbivorous, the Cayman Island blue iguana survives on a variety of plant species and fruit, but has also been observed eating fungus, crabs, soil and excrement.
Natural predators include free-roaming dogs and feral cats. Hatchlings are vulnerable to domestic snakes of the region, Cayman Racers.
A Cayman Island blue iguana can be sexually mature as young as two years of age. They are very territorial from the day they are hatched, and males and females will only come together during their mating period.
According to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the Cayman Island blue iguana has been critically endangered since 1996 and is one of the most endangered species on Earth. In October 2012, the iguana's status has been downgraded to Endangered
Cayman blue iguanas are on the road to recovery! Join MaryEllen and Amanda Wacasey, Mystic Aquarium's reptile and amphibian aquarist to learn about the blue iguana recovery program and how Mystic Aquarium's resident iguana is helping to educate the public.
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Scientific Name: Cyclura lewisi
Size: African penguins range from 18 to 25 inches tall and weigh up to 11 pounds
Range/Distribution: The only penguin to breed in Africa, the African penguin ranges from Namibia to South Africa. Young penguins have been known to migrate north and west along the coastline and are found between Southern Angola, Namibia, and sometimes found off Gabon, Congo, and Mozambique, but generally reside in South Africa.
Appearance: The African penguin has a robust, torpedo-shaped body with black feathers on their back, flippers, and head while white feathers cover their front with the exception of horseshoe-shaped black stripe on the chest. Following the penguin’s first few molts a white stripe will develop around its cheek and throat. These birds have a bare patch above their eyes to assist with regulating their body temperature.
Habitat: When not hunting for food in the water, African penguins are found along rocky shores or brushy coastal areas.
Prey: African penguins feed on 25 species of fish, such as sardine and anchovy but also prey on squid and krill. A penguin may eat up to one pound of food or up to 14% of their weight.
Predators: African penguins face predation by gulls, feral cats and mongoose while nesting on land, while sharks and fur seals hunt African penguins in the water.
Life Span: The African penguin may live up to late 30 years in an aquarium or zoo but averages of 15-20 years are seen in the wild populations.
Mating Behaviors: There are no set breeding seasons for African penguins, however, most penguin pairs are monogamous and will remain together over several breeding years. The male will prepare a nest by digging a shallow burrow in sand or in brush using guano (penguin waste) and any materials nearby to complete the nest for the female to lay two eggs. Both the male and female share the nesting and chick duties, keeping the young safe from predators and warm temperatures. The chicks will hatch between 38 and 42 days and will leave the nest when they are between 60 to 130 days of age.
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