The alien reptile discovered on Qamea Island is not a marine iguana as reported in the media, but it is the biggest species among terrestrial iguanas. It is commonly known as the green iguana and it survives in tropical forests similar to the country of its origin, in South America. It is also known to lay eggs in the ground.
This was confirmed by Curator-South Pacific Regional Herbarium Marika Tuiwawa.
A 13-page report, prepared by a team of USP conservation researches who recently visited the island, stated there are two known threats green iguanas pose to human lives. “The first is there are reported cases of the green iguana becoming aggressive and attacking humans the moment they lose their fear of humans,” Mr Tuinawawa said. Like any other wild animal that is attracted to human food, he said continuous interaction with humans when frequently fed will annul that fear and it will become abundant. “They tend to get aggressive and there are reported cases of green iguanas which can grow up to almost two metres in length chasing people from their eating tables in open cafeterias, for food,” he said. People he said are bitten, scratched and injured in those incidents.
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