Iguana (Utila Spiny-Tailed)

Ctenosaura bakeri

IUCN Red List status: Critically Endangered

For more info on classifications, visit www.iucnredlist.org

Critically Endangered


Where they live

Utila Island, Honduras


Inhabits the mangrove swamps and forests but nests on the beaches


Body length up to 50 cm. Tail length 50 cm.



Up to 60 yrs.


Habitat degradation and destruction through the growth of tourism and continued hunting for meat.

Did you know...

  • This is the only species of iguana that has specialized to live in brackish mangrove swamps.
  • It is known locally as the wishiwilly del suampo in local Spanish.
  • They are found in just 8 sq km. of mangrove swamp.

More about Utila spiny-tailed iguanas...

The Utila spiny-tailed iguana is named after the single island it inhabits in Honduras and from the whorls of enlarged spiny scales around its tail. The male animals are not only much larger than the females but also have larger spines on their tails.

Spiny-tailed iguanas inhabit just one small area of mangrove forest where they feed on a range of plant material and the small invertebrate animals which inhabit the mangroves

The mangrove swamps may provide all the shelter and food that the iguanas need to live but to breed they need much more suitable nest sites. After mating has taken place in the mangroves the females must migrate to the beaches of the island to dig the nests in which they lay up to 25 eggs. When the eggs hatch after four to five months the young animals return to the swamps. Young iguanas are insectivorous only becoming herbivorous as adults. Utila spiny-tailed iguanas may live for up to 60 years of age.

Often regarded as one of the rarest iguana species the Utila spiny-tailed iguana is regarded as Critically Endangered by the IUCN Red Data List and is subject to various conservation measures to protect it in its native habitat and though conservation breeding programmes.

How you can help...