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Zoo Buddy: Iguanas!

Published: May. 5, 2021 at 9:45 AM CDT
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - In this week’s Zoo Buddy segment, we’re meeting an iguana named Paisley at the Louisiana Purchase Gardens & Zoo.

“Iguanas typically get to be about 6-7 feet from the tip of the tail to the nose, all the way, typically weigh around 8.5 to 10 pounds,” says zookeeper Garrett Cole. “Lizards, as well as most reptiles, smell using their tongues, they actually don’t use their nostrils to smell, they breathe through those. But, they have specialized taste buds on their tongue to help them smell, and they can actually tell what direction they want to go in based off of what side or what part of the tongue it hits.”

The morning we met Paisley it was a little chilly outside, but Cole says that’s nothing she can’t handle – even though they prefer warmer temperatures.

“Yea it’s tolerable for her, you know they’ve actually invaded Florida and it gets pretty cold there during the winter months and they’ve reported them falling from trees,” says Cole. “They’re actually native to more like Central and South America where it typically stays pretty warm - 80 degrees is probably the perfect temperature for these guys.”

They’re also excellent climbers.

“One of my favorite things about them is they actually spend most of their life in the trees in the wild,” explains Cole. “They live for about 15 years and during that 15 years they only really come down to mate or go to a different tree.”

Right now, the reptile building is closed due to the pandemic, so zookeepers are bringing out some of the reptiles for people to see when they’re walking around the zoo.

“We have a wonderful area that has been donated by one of our maintenance worker’s family and it’s called the reptile experience,” explains Lisa Taylor, General Curator at the zoo.

They’re open every day of the week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and you can call them at (318) 329-2400 for more information.

For more information about iguanas, click here.

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