Breeding Cyclura Species 101

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The Cyclura breed is consists of 11 known species. After the taxonomic evaluation of Cyclura way back 1977, there are 5 of these portrayed subspecies that are pushed to species. There are 8 acknowledged subspecies under the species Cyclura rileyi, Cyclura cychlura, and Cyclura nubila. The entire species of Cyclura are on the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List of Threatened Species. There is 1 extinct specie, 3 as vulnerable, 3 as endangered, and 4 species that are considered crucially endangered.

The species of Cyclura are found on the islands of the West Indies, where these creatures are found to be the biggest remaining homeland vertebrate. The species are mainly herbivorous, although they are also seen feeding on an animal matter that is not difficult to get, such as rotting flesh, land crabs, and insects. Since iguanas are known to be great climbers, it will not be unusual to notice them on trees. The rock iguanas do not have common natural predators; however, the untamed domestic animals have turned out to be one of the biggest threats to these creatures.


Rock iguanas are seen in sandy areas, xerophytic scrub forests, and mangrove forests on the islands of West Indies. These creatures utilize the crevices and caves that are formed in massively corroded limestones as refuges and, at times, hollow out burrows in some sandy areas. The adults are mainly terrestrial. The young, on the other hand, are often seen in the trees. They are mainly herbivorous and thus follow certain choices of food in their diet. The diet commonly includes leaves, stems, and flowers of plants from roughly 105 local species of plants from the West Indies. They also take advantage of the animal matter and consume it. This includes skin flakes, land crabs, carrion, feces of conspecifics, and insects.

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Physical Description

The Cyclura species is a huge group of island native iguanas that possess massive and enclosed tails. Male Cycluras is bigger compared to the females, and they have bigger femoral pores, dorsal crest scales, and bodies. Overall, the males have an average SVL of 263 to 745 millimeters, and the females have an average SVL of 240 to 623 millimeters. The size of the body is the primary sexually dimorphic characteristic in the species of Cylura.

The most dependable procedure of identifying various species is through scale patterns and counts since many of the species exhibit base pigmentations of browns, blacks, or greys. Every species frequently has a unique tinge of head, dorsal scales, and legs. The young are frequently grey, with a volume of dusky crossbars that stretch over the range of the back. These patterns vanish with maturity and age.

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Knowing the Cyclura is facing extinction, many researchers have been eyeing on these iguanas in captivity. Rock iguanas in the wild are mainly polygamous; however, some situations been marked where these creatures are monogamous or promiscuous. The rock iguanas are aggressive towards the territory, and they are unsociable until the season of mating. While in the season of mating, the male would extend his territory to overlay with as much as females as possible and shall assault other males that attempt to get into the territory to dominate females. The smaller males would commonly flee as they are haunted by the bigger ones.

Physical attacks are not common and typically only happen between individuals of the same size. Attacks that occur can be barbarous. Wounds developed as an output of the attacks may include tearing of the skin, flesh wounds, internal hemorrhage, and in some instances, death. The females are also characterized to be aggressive towards one another and shall identify a hierarchy.

Copulation starts with an array of head nods from the male to the female. After the nods, the male shall settle himself behind the female. The female is being grasped on the nape by the male trying to confine her to set himself for admission. This approach consumes around 30 to 90 seconds, although barely any longer.

The season of breeding of the Cyclura species typically happens from April to June. Oviposition happens roughly 40 days after, starting from June to July. The size of the clutch differs with the age and size of the female. Females of smaller size can lay eggs ranging 2 to 6, while females of bigger size can lay as much as 23 eggs. The eggs are being laid in a hollow-out nesting burrow. The incubation normally takes 65 to 90 days.

After incubation, the hatchlings may consume 2 weeks to dislodge out of the chamber of the nest and crop up. Sexual maturity is, at times, achieved during younger periods in captivity compared to those in the wild. However, sexual maturity will commonly occur between the ages of 2 to 9 years. The Cyclura species would commonly mate once in one year, although there was one case that has been noted to have established mating and nesting twice, implying that biannual reproduction can be achievable, however, it would be a peculiar happening.

Before reaching fertilization, females heightens their intake of food. Their body temperature also increases to achieve the utmost metabolic rates to form eggs. While in copulation, the female shall frequently result in nuchal crest injuries or other body parts once the male becomes excessively assertive. After the process of copulation, the male is already out in the process of parenting. A few days before the occurrence of oviposition, the females are noticed to explore outside their common ranges to locate an appropriate venue to dredge a nesting burrow. These nesting burrows are spacious and deep. They are also warm.

In captivity, the largest conquer in triumphant breeding is nesting. If the nest is not properly dug or the eggs are being held by the female for too long because the female does not like the nest, there is a great possibility that the eggs shall not hatch. Else way, if the female is contented and happy, she will then wrap the nest and frequently defend it against the predators for up to a few weeks. The moment the eggs hatch, the hatchlings are not dependent and continue to live their lives solitarily. Unfortunately, the young Cyclura species in the wild go through great mortality rates, which can go to almost 100 percent in certain populations because of the natural and introduced predators.


Cyclura species carry some of the most extensive living lizard breeds. It is said that these lizards have an average lifespan of 25 to 40 years in the wild. Captive breeds have been noted to surpass that limit, knowing the remarkable maintenance level given in captivity. The most extensive living species of Cyclura noted is a male gender of the Cyclura nubila lewisi species named as Godzilla. The rates for survival are at the least for young because of the predation brought by the natural predators like the birds and snakes, as well as the introduced predators like the dogs and cats. This ratio may extend from 22 to 97 percent based on both its location and population. Overall, the rate of survival grows with the growth in size as well as maturity.


The rock iguanas are stationary, solitary, and diurnal lizards that commonly only mingle during the process of mating. A lot of intraspecific attitudes are illustrated during the act of mating. Outside the season of mating, both genders create dominating hierarchies. In males, supremacy is related to the size of the body and the head, demonstrate behaviors, size of the territory, levels of testosterone, and contiguity to females. In females, supremacy is mainly linked with size.

Assertive individuals may assault infiltrators in their territory after cautioning them with numbers of head nods. The Cyclura species are not dependent and solitary immediately when they hatch. Hatchlings will frequently use the first months living in trees to stay away from the ground predators but may still at times fall prey to snakes and birds. During the time that the rock iguanas as energetic, their time is mainly used for foraging, journeying as distant as 300 to 500 meters to get to some forests where they can feed in.


Knowing that the adult rock iguanas are the biggest land vertebrates occurring on their islands, there are only a few natural predators known. Nevertheless, hatchling, as well as the young iguanas, have relatively little predators. The natural predators for juvenile rock iguanas include snakes, birds, and in a single noted situation, barracuda. Introduced species are the largest risk to the species of Cyclura.

Mongooses, cats, and dogs prey massively on rock iguanas and have triggered extinctions of certain populations. Some other introduced species like mice, rats, raccoons, and pigs also eat eggs, murder both adult and hatchlings, and ruin habitat. When affronted by predators, the rock iguanas demonstrate a fight or flight behavior. They utilize onslaught warnings such as body inflation or head nods to frighten predators and shall attack once cornered. Men also factually pursued rock iguanas as a source of food.

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