Green, Rare & New at the Zoo

We are so excited to welcome six new Fiji banded iguanas to our Zoo family! The Fiji banded iguana is an extremely rare species, both in zoos and in the wild. They can only be found naturally on the Fiji islands.

Fiji banded iguana eggs take 160 to 200 days to hatch. That means our herpetology team had to watch over the eggs for 5 months! They created a suitable nesting site for the female to dig a cavity to lay her eggs. Afterward, they collected the eggs, set them up for incubation and watched over them for as they developed into healthy hatchlings.

Green, Rare & New at the Zoo - ZooTampa at Lowry Park

The Fiji banded iguana adults typically reach a length of 7.5 inches and mature between 3 and 4 years old. The males are bright green with wide blue or light green stripes, while the females are typically solid green but may have a few white or pale blue spots.

While we celebrate the arrival of our new Fiji banded iguanas, it’s important to reflect on the challenges that the iguanas face in the wild. The Fiji banded iguanas have declined over 50% in the last few decades and are currently not safe on their island homes. During recent surveys of more than 50 islands where they should have been present, Fiji banded iguanas were only detected on 20% and several local extinctions were confirmed.

Green, Rare & New at the Zoo - ZooTampa at Lowry Park

There is a continuing loss and degradation of remaining Fiji banded habitats, from deforestation, expansion of human development and cat predation. Without conservation intervention, the degradation observed can cause even further declines over the next 20 years.

Due to the size of Fiji banded iguana offspring, the hatchlings will be observed by the herpetology team behind the scenes. We will keep you updated on when they are large enough and ready to make their public debut.