June 25, 2014
Keith, the giant iguana, is making the most of the recent spell of hot weather by enjoying going for walks on Hastings beach.
The exotic one-and-a-half-metre-long reptile was re-homed at Blue Reef Aquarium after its owner could no longer look after him.
Just like humans, iguanas need vitamin D to keep them fit and healthy and the walks not only allow Keith to enjoy a spot of sunbathing but also ensure his claws do not grow too long.
“We’ve got a special harness which allows us to take him for a wander around the displays and let him fully explore his new home and the surrounding area,” said Blue Reef’s Leanna Lawson.
“As well as being good exercise for the iguanas, it’s also proving to be quite an encounter for the visitors,” she added.
Green Iguanas are primarily herbivores, feeding on leaves, flowers, fruit, and plants. They are often found perched on branches overhanging rivers and when threatened will plunge into the water for safety. Although they spend much of their time motionless they are also extremely good climbers.
Green iguanas have an organ on the top of their heads called the parietal eye. Although it cannot form images this ‘eye’ is sensitive to changes in light and dark and can detect movement which helps detect birds of prey and other potential predators stalking it from above.
The massive reptile is the star attraction in the aquarium’s newly-expanded Jungle Room and has made a big impression on staff and visitors alike.
“Keith is a truly impressive lizard and he’s certainly causing quite a stir among our visitors.
“He’s a fantastic addition to the newly-expanded display area – he’s extremely used to people and is very comfortable being handled by the keepers,” she added.