In this guide, we’ll answer the question:
“What eats iguanas?”
First, you’ll find a short summary of what animals eat iguanas in the wild and then get a detailed list of iguana predators.
Iguanas are herbivorous lizards in the order of Squamata group in the class of Reptilia. These lizards are native to tropical areas of Mexico, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean, but have been introduced beyond these areas into Ishigaki Island, Florida Peninsula, and Hawaii.
The average lifespan for an iguana is 20 years.
What Eats Iguanas?
Animals that eat iguanas include cats, dogs, feral pigs, fish, hawks, owls, raccoons, snakes, vultures, and humans. An iguana has many natural predators and falls prey to a variety of species.
Feral cats are responsible for the death of hatchling and juvenile iguanas.
Cats are known to determine their prey based on their size, appearance, and smell, which explains why they target young iguanas; the adult reptiles are too large and intimidating.
A feral cat has great stealth and speed to hunt young iguanas for food.
A dog can kill and eat an iguana relatively easily and is known to overtake these reptiles before they escape into water or hide down in their burrows.
However, it is not too common because of the danger of sustaining injuries from a flailing iguana tail and its claws. Poisoning is also possible.
In a report by the Sun Sentinel of South Florida, some dogs ate frozen dead lizards and were poisoned by what appeared to be botulism, which caused paralysis so severe that a few had to be euthanized.
Feral pigs are opportunistic hunters and prey on iguana nests, eggs, and young iguanas.
A young iguana is an easy target due to its smaller size and weaker tail for defense. Adult iguanas have stronger tails that can strike a wild pig to escape from being eaten more easily.
Iguanas live in several habits, including freshwater and seawater, where large predatory fish prey on them.
Fish, specifically tiger sharks, regularly feed on marine iguanas in the ocean. And iguanas that live near freshwater also risk attack from carnivorous fish like bass and pike.
Hawks are some of the most dangerous natural predators of iguanas and they target both adult reptiles and their unhatched eggs in burrows.
Small marine iguanas, for example, are eaten regularly by Galapagos hawks.
Just like hawks, owls are natural predators of iguanas.
Burrowing owls chase after iguanas and capture them before escaping into the water or their own burrow.
Even though owls can attack iguanas from the sky like hawks, they prefer hunting close to the ground so that they can hear and see their prey.
Once an owl captures and kills an iguana, they will often hide the meat inside a nest, tree hole, or a fork in a branch to store surplus food in a cache.
Raccoons are opportunistic and omnivorous predators and will not miss an opportunity to feed on an iguana. A raccoon relies on its large size, sharp teeth, and strong claws to subdue an iguana.
In an article by Earth Touch about raccoons and iguanas, it seems that “Florida’s raccoons, alongside other predators like alligators and birds of prey, could play a vital role in keeping green iguana numbers in check.”
Snakes are a major predator for both desert iguanas as well as green iguanas and their near relatives. Venomous snakes kill and eat desert iguanas, while the green iguanas fall prey to boa constrictors and their near relatives.
Snakes also kill hatchling and juvenile iguanas because they are easy targets.
Snakes are a predatory threat to iguanas in every habitat.
Some venomous snakes kill iguanas by biting them with fangs to inject poison and then eating the body whole. However, a non-venomous snake like the boa constrictor kills this prey squeezing it to death.
Vultures are excellent scavengers that will feed on dead iguana carcasses that were killed by other animals.
In addition, because vultures are opportunistic birds, they will target iguana nests and feed on the eggs as well.
Eating iguanas is is a cultural practice for many countries in South and Central America.
Iguana meat is high in protein, low in fat, and is commonly used in tacos, burritos, curries, soups, stews, gumbo, and more.
What Do Iguanas Eat?
Iguanas are herbivores that must eat vegetation to survive.
You can visit our other guide on what do iguanas eat to find out more about what these lizards feed on for nutrition.
Animals That Eat Iguanas Summary
You now know what eats iguanas in the wild and which species are the top iguana predators.
As you discovered in this guide, there are about 10 animals that eat iguanas in nature throughout the entire life cycle of these reptiles.
I’m the lead editor and writer for Animal Answer Guide. I enjoy sharing expert knowledge on the various characteristics of common species within the five distinct groups of animals: amphibians, birds, fish, mammals, and reptiles.