Marine Iguanas Can Hold Their Breath For 20 Minutes!


Did you know? The only marine lizard can hold its breath for 20 minutes, and some more! To put this in perspective, average humans can hold their breath for merely two minutes underwater. But this vibrant lizard, which is endemic to Galapagos island, has mastered the art of staying underwater while holding its breath. But how does it do that, and what other things make this reptile truly interesting? Let’s discover what makes marine Iguanas so awesome!

Marine Iguanas Can Hold Their Breath For 20 Minutes!
via Wikimedia Commons/RAF-YYC

Marine Iguanas are herbivores, and will often dive in the water to look for algae. They can dive to 98ft, but their everyday dives are 16-20ft. This foraging will last for five to ten minutes, after which the lizard will come back up. But if it wants, it can stay underwater for 20 minutes and some more.

Without breathing! This is because, even though these cuties cannot breathe underwater due to the lack of gills, they have a stupendous ability to hold their breath for long periods of time. And when they’re underwater, they don’t use their hands and legs to swim, but their tails! This is just like crocodiles and alligators, who look like a bigger, badder version of this marine lizard.

Another thing that makes marine Iguanas special is that they can eat sunlight! Well, not literally, but they do consume the sun’s energy. In the morning, they will often bask in the sun and get some heat into their bodies, being cold-blooded and stuff. So when they dive in cold water to look for food or other things, they will use the stored energy of the sun to keep themselves warm.

Another way they make the best of whatever energy they have is by cutting down their heart rate. Yes, marine Iguanas can slow down their hearts on purpose, and even stop their heartbeat for 45 minutes. This not only helps them conserve energy, but it’s also a plus point when it comes to deferring attackers. Sharks, the primary predators of marine iguanas can hear their heartbeats from 13dt away. But hey, no heartbeat fools the sharks pretty well 

Are you intrigued by the only lizard species that likes being in the ocean? You’ll also love Goliath frogs, the largest frogs ever.


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