Male vs Female Iguana

Male and Female Iguanas differ in physical traits, with males being larger, possessing broader heads, larger jowls, and more prominent dorsal spines, along with larger femoral pores used for marking territories. Behavior-wise, males are territorial and aggressive during the breeding season, while females are more docile.

Iguanas are fascinating creatures that can make great pets. However, it is important to know the difference between male and female iguanas before you decide to bring one home. While they share many things in common, they also have distinct characteristics and behaviors that set them apart.

In this blog post, we will discuss the key differences between male and female iguanas, including their size, appearance, and behavior. Read on to learn more about these amazing reptiles!

Physical Differences

When observing an Iguana, specific physical characteristics can help determine its gender. Size, distinct body features like spikes and jowls, femoral pores, and hemipenal bulges are some significant physical differences found between male and female iguanas.

Males are typically larger than females, with a broader and longer body which is evident as they mature. The head shape also presents a clear distinction. Males possess a more squared-off, broader head and larger jowls. Females, on the other hand, have a more rounded and smaller head.

Both genders have spikes, but male iguanas have taller and longer spikes on their backs.

Another distinction is the dewlap, the skin flap on the neck area. It’s larger and more pronounced in male iguanas.

A clear physical feature unique to males is the presence of large femoral pores. These pores, located on the underside of the hind legs, secrete a particular substance commonly used for marking territories. Lastly, male iguanas have hemipenal bulges, which are swellings at the base of the tail due to the tucked-away reproductive organs.

These characteristics can significantly assist in identifying the gender of an iguana, especially for those who plan to own one or study these incredible creatures.

Behavioral Differences

Checking the behavior traits of iguanas can help potential owners decide which gender would be more suitable as a pet. The mating season especially influences their behavior, leading to changes in temperament that are important to consider when setting their environment.

Male iguanas are typically more territorial and can exhibit increased aggression, particularly during the mating season. They can also be more challenging to handle due to their size and dominant nature. Females tend to be more docile, making them possibly a better choice for those new to iguana care.

Concerning suitability as a pet, female iguanas could be considered more straightforward to handle due to their calmer temperament and smaller size. But it should be remembered they may lay eggs, even if unfertilised, which requires specific considerations for their health.

Ideal Environment

Keeping multiple iguanas in the same enclosure can prove challenging. Both males and females are solitary by nature. Putting two males together could result in territorial disputes, while a male and a female might lead to breeding if the habitat stimulates it.

Establishing a conducive environment for iguanas, regardless of their sex, involves creating a space that mirrors their natural habitat. Both males and females require climbing and basking spaces, a decent temperature gradient, and a suitable diet. Remember, each iguana has unique requirements, and their care should be tailored accordingly.


Differentiating male from female iguanas involves observing distinctive physical characteristics such as body size, head shape, presence of femoral pores, and hemipenal bulges. Behavior can also provide clues, with males typically being more aggressive and territorial, particularly during mating season, while females are generally more docile.

Knowledge of these differences is vital for anyone seeking to own or study iguanas, ensuring these intricate creatures thrive in their care. We must remember that understanding and respecting these amazing reptiles is the first step to developing a successful and satisfying bond with them.