Scientific Name: Brachylophus fasciatus
It’s really easy to see when Fijian banded iguanas are courting. Their colour intensifies and they start bobbing their heads at each other – sometimes the male bobs his head super fast! After this the male approaches the female and tongue-flicks her neck, back and forelegs – occasionally even biting her.
One of Fiji’s national treasures, the Fijian banded iguana is one of the few iguana species not found in the Americas. The male is strikingly coloured with light blue to white bands on a bright green background. Females are more uniformly green with occasional faint banding or spotting. Both sexes have yellow underbellies and yellow-rimmed nostrils. Like other iguanas, they’re able to change their skin colour to blend in with their surroundings. When threatened, the iguanas turn black, making it clear they’re not to be messed with! Their long, spindly toes end in claws, and these help them to climb the trees that they live in. They have a very short crest that is only 0.5 centimetres high and grow to 60 centimetres long (half of this is tail).
Fijian banded iguanas are arboreal (tree-dwelling) and are found on the South Pacific islands of Fiji, Tonga, and as a feral population on Vanuatu. They favour coastal and lowland/swampy forests though are occasionally spotted in rainforest areas. They rarely come down from the trees except to lay eggs. Their habitat is disappearing due to land clearing and they’re also threatened by introduced species such as feral cats and mongooses.
Fijian banded iguanas are omnivorous, eating leaves, flowers, fruit and insects.
Females usually lay one clutch of 3-7 eggs. Although this can occur twice in a year, it is usually only an annual event. The female digs a diagonal nest about 25 centimetres deep in the ground then lays the eggs. After burying them, she tamps the nest down with her head and then guards it for a short period. After 160-200 days hatchlings emerge, usually in the wet season.