The Fastest Lizard In The World

Faster than a speeding bullet? Well, not quite but The Guinness Book of World Records lists the running speed of the this particular lizard species at 21.7 mph or 34.9 km/h making it the world’s fastest lizard.

So what lizard am I talking about?

The one and only Black Spiny-tailed Iguana or Black Iguana or Black Ctenosaur (Ctenosaura similis) of course!

This is a lizard that native to Mexico and Central America although it has actually been introduced and is now running rampant as a feral population within Florida.

They are primarily herbivorous in nature, choosing to consume flowers, leaves, stems, and fruit.   Juveniles tend to be insectivores becoming more herbivorous as they get older. But because they will opportunistically feed upon small vertebrates, such as fish, rodents, eggs, birds, and even hatchling sea turtles, they do pose a threat to endangered native species.

This speed-demon of the reptile word can reach a length of up to approximately 5 feet for males, and just over 3 feet for females (making them the largest of the Ctenosaurs). They are diurnal (active during the daylight hours) and extremely fast moving.  Not only do they use their incredible speed to escape predators but they can also lash out with their tails and bite if cornered.  So be careful!

Did you know that in some parts of Central America, this lizard is farmed alongside the Green Iguana as a food source and for export for the pet trade.  Iguanas are often referred to as the Chickens Of the Tree.   Although it is heavily hunted it does not appear to be endangered in any of its native environments.

Catch me, if you can!

By Candace,


About Candace M Hansen

Wildlife advocate, conservationist and environmentalist.
This entry was posted in Lizards and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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