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About Marine Iguana

The much-maligned marine iguanas of the Galápagos Islands are so famously homely, even Charles Darwin piled on, describing them as "hideous-looking" and "most disgusting, clumsy lizards."

It's true, they're not pretty, with their wide-set eyes, smashed-in faces, spiky dorsal scales, and knotty, salt-encrusted heads. But what these unusual creatures lack in looks they make up for with their amazing and unique ecological adaptations.

Fast Facts 

Type: Reptile

Diet: Herbivore

Average life span in the wild: 5 to 12 years

Size: 4 to 5 ft (1.2 to 1.5 m)

Weight: 1 to 3.3 lbs (.5 to 1.5 kg)

Did you know? Marine iguanas sneeze frequently to expel salt from glands near their noses. The salt often lands on their heads, giving them a distinctive white wig.

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