Iguanas, which include a large group of lizards, have sharp claws and razor-sharp teeth, but unfortunately for them, they’re nowhere near the top of the food chain. A wide range of animals including birds of prey, felines, and snakes wouldn’t think twice about making a meal out of a tasty iguana.
The following includes all of the animals which have been observed hunting and eating different types of iguanas, including the green, spiny tail, rhino, and marine iguanas.
1. Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)
Bald eagles, also known as America’s national bird, boast a 7-foot wingspan and are one of the fiercest birds of prey. Their vast territory ranges from Northern Mexico all the way to Alaska in regions like inland lakes and river systems.
Eagles are capable of easily taking down a full-grown iguana and do so by dive bombing from high altitudes (thanks to their keen eyesight) with the intention of catching an unsuspecting iguana.
Their two-inch long talons pierce into the iguana’s body to hold it down while their sharp beaks bite the base of the skull and neck to finish the job.
It’s not uncommon to see bald eagles hunting larger prey, one of which includes iguanas.
2. Black Hawk-Eagle (Spizaetus tyrannus)
Black Hawk Eagles are found throughout Central and South America and are known to hunt iguanas. They can reach a wingspan of about four feet and prefer living in humid and moist forests, varying woodlands, and rivers.
3. Harpy Eagle (Harpia harpyja)
With a wingspan reaching up to 7ft 4in, Harpy Eagles are one of the largest birds of prey, and have no problem taking down a fully-grown iguana. They have unique feathers that stick almost completely upward at the top of their head.
Their natural habitat includes rainforests in Central and South America.
4. Crested Eagle (Morphnus guianensis)
Crested Eagles can be found from southern Mexico to northern Argentina. They have a wingspan that can reach 5ft 8in and weigh up to six pounds.
Crested Eagles normally prey on various types of monkeys, opossums, and kinkajous, but will not shy away from adding iguanas, snakes, and boas to the menu.
5. Ospreys (Pandion haliaetus)
Ospreys are birds of prey with a 6ft wingspan found in the southeastern United States on coasts, lakes, rivers, or swamps.
The small spines on their curved talons make them specialized in hunting slippery fish. However, they’re also known for occasionally hunting juvenile rock iguanas, as adults are too large to take down.
6. Peregrine Falcons (Falco peregrinus)
Peregrine Falcons have a wingspan of 46 inches, but what they lack in size they make up for with flying speeds of over 200mph!
Their habitats can be found high on Florida’s cliffs and manmade structures, such as bridges, skyscrapers, and water towers.
Since they’re on the smaller end, Peregrine falcons only target baby and juvenile Rock Iguanas.
7. Merlin (Falco Columbarius)
Merlins have a wingspan of 23 inches and can be found in the southeastern United States in forested openings and along rivers.
Compared to most falcons, Merlins are husky and well built, but not enough to take down an adult iguana, which is why they primarily target juvenile Rock Iguanas.
8. Kestrels (Falco sparverius)
Kesterls’ habitat includes open woodlands, savannah pines, sandhills, and less commonly, residential pastures and open fields.
They grow to an average wingspan of 2 feet, a size far too small to take down adult iguanas. However, juveniles and especially baby Rock Iguanas are easy prey.
9. Red-Shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus)
With a wingspan of 40 inches, Red-Shouldered Hawks have no problem taking down juvenile iguanas.
They can be found throughout the eastern North American continent and California coasts in pine, oak, and cypress forests that are near the water, and, like all raptors, divebomb on their unsuspecting prey.
10. Cooper’s Hawk (Accipiter cooperii)
On a slightly smaller scale, Cooper Hawks have a wingspan of 35 inches and can be found from southern Canadian to Northern Mexican forests, and woodlands, but also in most suburbs, especially those with many recreational parks.
Although they primarily hunt rodents, squirrels, and smaller birds, a juvenile iguana can easily become part of their menu should the opportunity arise.
11. Red-Tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)
Red-Tail Hawks can reach an impressive wingspan of 4 foot 8 inches and can be found from southern Canada to Central America. Their habitats are generally deserts, scrubs, fields, or grasslands. However, they can also be spotted in the suburbs.
Red-Tail Hawks can pick up prey weighing up to five pounds. In contrast, adult male iguanas can weigh up to 8.8 pounds, meaning Red-Tail Hawks can hunt and kill pretty large iguanas, as they don’t have to pick up the lizard to eat it.
12. Harris Hawk (Parabuteo unicinctus)
Harris Hawks are found in multiple of the lower US states, Mexico, and Central and South America. They are predators in iguana’s native and non-native habitats.
Their wingspan can reach 4 feet and are known as the only bird of prey which regularly kill iguanas.
However, iguanas have an amazing defense mechanism to help them detect bird attacks from above. Believe it or not, iguanas have three eyes! I’m not kidding, check out this post I wrote to learn more about iguanas and their third eye.
13. Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus)
The Great Horned Owl’s territory is much larger than most birds of prey, extending from Alaska to South America. They can reach a wingspan of 4.6 feet and primarily hunt rodents, squirrels, and smaller-sized snakes.
The Great Horned Owl is nocturnal, which is why iguanas are usually not a part of their regular diet. However, should the opportunity arise, the owl would have no problem taking down a full-grown iguana.
Check out the following link to learn more about iguanas being nocturnal or not.
14. Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia)
On a much smaller scale, The Burrowing Owl has a wingspan of only two feet, and is, therefore, not capable of taking down a full-grown iguana. However, babies and hatchlings remain on the menu.
They can be found all over the north, central, and southern Americas. They get their name because they nest in underground burrows which they commonly take from other species such as ground squirrels or tortoises.
15. Eastern-Screech Owl (Megascops asio)
The Eastern Screech Owl is another small bird of prey, measuring only two feet in wingspan. They’re primarily found in the US, east of the Rocky Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean, and small populations are found in Canada and Mexico.
They favor areas such as woodlands, farm groves, and shade trees. Since they’re not large owls, they typically hunt insects and rodents. However, should a small iguana cross their path, it would be happily added to the menu.
16. Great Egret (Ardea alba)
A Great Egret may not look as ferocious as other birds of prey, but they can reach a wingspan of 5.6 inches, and have no problem taking down a juvenile or baby iguana.
They can be found virtually anywhere including North, Central, and South America, especially where there are large bodies of water.
17. Laughing Gulls (Leucophaeus atricilla)
Laughing Gulls, commonly known as Seagulls, are found virtually anywhere where there’s a coast, but tend to be most prevalent in the North American Atlantic coast.
Contrary to popular belief, Gulls are not only found by the sea but will also travel several miles inland to lakes or rivers. I can attest to this as I lived 5 minutes away from the California coast, but also 35 miles inland alongside the LA National Forest.
Seagulls would fly 35 miles from the coast to the mountains to avoid storms coming in from the ocean, but I digress. Gulls can reach a modest wingspan of 3.4 feet and have a strong beak, which they can use to easily take down a small iguana.
18. American Alligators (Alligator mississippiensis)
The American Alligator is a predator you do not want to mess with. They can grow to an average length of 13ft and weigh up to 790 pounds. Therefore, even a fully-grown iguana is no match for these powerful reptiles.
They can be found from North Carolina to the Rio Grande in Texas in freshwater marshes, swamps, lakes, and slow-moving rivers.
19. American Crocodile (Crocodylus acutus)
On a bigger scale, the American Crocodile can reach a whopping length of 20 feet and weigh more than twice as much as its alligator counterpart, 2000 pounds.
As I’ve previously mentioned, iguanas will dive off branches and into bodies of water to avoid birds of prey. Unfortunately, many times, predators like the American Crocodile or Alligator are nearby and also looking for dinner.
20. Morelet’s Crocodile (Crocodylus moreletii)
Morelet’s Crocodiles can reach up to 10 feet long and weigh over 300 pounds. They’re native to Mexico and Central America and are commonly known to eat iguanas in freshwater like swamps, marshes, and riparian habitats.
21. Wild Boar (Sus scrofa)
Once native to northern Africa, Europe, and Asia, wild boars can now be found in every continent except Antarctica. They can weigh up to 220 pounds and grow sharp tusks to defend themselves from large predators.
Wild boars, like their domestic counterparts, pigs, will eat virtually anything, including iguanas should the opportunity arise.
However, it is very unlikely to see wild boars eating iguanas. The lizard would have to be either injured or in poor health to fall prey to a boar, as the latter can’t climb trees.
22. Burmese Pythons (Python bivittatus)
At an average length of 23 feet and weight of 200 pounds, Burmese Pythons rank as the fifth largest snake in the world.
They’re primarily found in the grassy marshes and jungles of Southeast Asia, but also the east coast of the US where they’re considered an invasive species, and hunt fully grown green iguanas, which are also an invasive species.
23. Racers (Coluber constrictor)
Racer snakes, which acquired their name thanks to their ability to quickly evade predators, are non-venomous snakes that only reach a length of roughly 73 inches and weigh barely over 1 pound.
They can be found throughout the US, Canada, and Mexico. Like the Harris Hawk, Racer snakes are also native iguana predators. They’re known for targeting baby marine iguanas in the Galapagos Islands.
24. Boa Constrictor (Boa constrictor)
Boa constrictors, which get their name because they constrict their prey, can grow as big as 13 feet long and weigh over 100 pounds.
They’re mainly found from Northern Mexico to Argentina, and are, therefore, native predators of the green iguana.
Compared to their boa counterparts, boa constrictors can be found in the widest range of habitats, including savannahs, deserts, wet tropical forests, and even cultivated fields.
25. Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake (Crotalus adamanteus)
The Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake is the largest rattlesnake in the world and one of the heaviest of all venomous snakes. It can reach a weight of 10 pounds and a length of 8 pounds.
They’re native to the southeastern United States, where the climate is hot and humid, and are known to prey on invasive green iguanas. Although both reptiles weigh roughly the same, the snake’s venom gives it the upper hand.
26. Water Moccasin (Agkistrodon piscivorus)
Water Moccasins are the only semi-aquatic pit vipers and venomous water snakes in North America.
They are predominantly found in south-eastern states in mostly fresh waters including ponds, marshes, creeks, lakes, and ponds, but have also been spotted in saltwater.
They can reach a length of 5.9 inches and weigh roughly 10 pounds. Although not as venomous as rattlesnakes, water moccasins can still deliver fatal bites, and have no problem taking down fully-grown iguanas.
27. Coral Snake (Micrurus fulvius)
Coral snakes are highly unique looking as they have a yellow, red, yellow, black, yellow sequence. Although some snakes have a similar color sequence, such as the California King snake which I’ve run into on more than one occasion while hiking, they are not poisonous.
To identify a true coral snake, remember the rhyme, “Red touches black, a friend of Jack. Red touches yellow kills a fellow.” Coral snakes are actually more poisonous than rattlesnakes, but fortunately for iguanas, their tiny fangs cannot as easily penetrate the skin
Therefore, if a coral snake decides to hunt an iguana, it would more than likely be a baby iguana. Furthermore, coral snakes only reach a maximum length of four feet, and weigh up to five pounds, making it harder for them to hunt larger reptiles.
28. Anacondas (Eunectes murinus)
Anacondas, also known as water boas, are the longest and heaviest snakes on the planet, and, if confronted in the wild, would strike terror into the hearts of most men, let alone a 10-pound iguana.
They can weigh a whopping 550 pounds, measure up to 30 thirty feet, and are known to take down prey as large as deer and caimans.
Green anacondas are native to South America and some of the Caribbean Islands. However, in more recent years they’ve been found in the south-eastern US as invasive species, where they’re known to hunt green iguanas.
29. Raccoons (Procyon lotor)
Raccoons are found from Canada to parts of South America. They are relatively small, weighing only 10-20 pounds, and are opportunistic omnivores. Although an adult iguana is a formidable opponent due to its size and tail whips, a juvenile or baby can make a good meal for a hungry raccoon.
Check out this post I wrote about how iguanas can use their tails as whips.
30. Black Bear (Ursus americanus floridanus)
Like raccoons, black bears are omnivores, but on a much larger scale. Although they’re, for the most part, harmless to humans (I’ve come face to face with them many times), they can be extremely hostile if trapped or surprised.
Males can weigh up to 650 pounds, but can run at 30 mph, and are excellent climbers. If forced to confront a bear, there is little an iguana can do.
Fortunately, their diet mainly consists of fruits and insects. A bear will only be seen going out of its way to hunt an iguana if an easy opportunity arises.
31. Coyote (Canis latrans)
Coyotes are found everywhere from Alaska down to Panama. Hence, they can be considered an iguana’s natural predator.
Coyotes can grow up to 2 feet tall and weigh roughly 33 pounds. Although they don’t normally form packs, they are occasionally seen in small family groups.
Coyotes are bigger and faster than iguanas, but the latter has two advantages for escaping; climbing and detaching its tail.
By the way, if your iguana’s tail falls off, be sure to check out this guide I wrote titled, “Do this if your iguana’s tail falls off.”
32. Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes)
The red fox is the most widespread of the Carnivora family, and is therefore, like coyotes, a native predator. Red foxes are found from the tip of Alaska to the bottom of South America in woodlands, and mixed scrubs.
They reach a shoulder height of 14 to 18 inches and weigh roughly 31 pounds, but what they lack in size they make up for in speed and agility.
33. Grey Fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus)
Grey foxes are smaller than their red counterparts, measuring 12 to 16 inches at the shoulder and weighing 8-15 pounds. They can be found in parts of Canada to the northern regions of South America.
Therefore, it’s likely for grey foxes to come in contact with iguanas in their natural habitat. However, due to their small size, they more than likely hunt only babies and juveniles.
34. Bobcats (Lynx rufus)
According to the Smithsonian, most bobcats are found in the US. However, their territory ranges from Mexico to southern Canada.
They can grow to a height of about 1.5 feet at the shoulder and weigh up to 33 pounds. In my opinion, felines are one of nature’s most effective killing machines, and I’m not just saying that because of my cat, Mr. Mittens.
They can run, climb, and swim incredibly well, making it early impossible for iguanas to escape unharmed if targeted by a bobcat. In fact, in states where iguanas are considered invasive species, it’s bobcats that help to reduce the lizards’ population.
35. Jaguars (Panthera Orca)
Jaguars, including the infamous black panther, which is essentially a black jaguar, are found from the southwestern United States to Argentina in South America.
They are apex predators, reaching a height of 3 feet at the shoulder and weighing on average 120 pounds, although some have been documented to reach 300 pounds. Jaguars are native to the Amazon jungle, where many iguanas can be found.
They have been observed hunting alligators while in the water! Therefore, it goes without saying that a green iguana doesn’t stand much of a chance against such a powerful predator.
36. Ocelots (Leopardus pardalis)
Although ocelots are endangered in the US and are only found in southern Texas, they are fortunately, thriving in Mexico, Central and Southern America. Hence, they’re one of the iguanas’ many native predators.
Unlike jaguars, they’re much smaller, weighing roughly 35 pounds and standing at only 1.5 feet at the shoulder. However, their size is sufficient to overpower an adult iguana.
37. River Otter (Lontra canadensis)
Pertaining to the weasel family, river otters are just as adept on land as they are in the water. On average, they’re over three feet long and can weigh up to 30 pounds.
River otters can be found on all continents except Australia and Antarctica. Although river otters typically hunt small fish, turtles, crabs, and insects, they have also been spotted taking down fully-grown iguanas in Colombia.
It’s safe to say that if it occurred in Colombia, it’s happened elsewhere.
38. Bull Sharks (Carcharhinus leucas)
Bull sharks are found in tropical and subtropical waters around the world. They can measure up to 11.5 feet long, and weigh a whopping 500 pounds!
Although iguanas are not a frequent item on the menu, they have no problem hunting these lizards should the opportunity arise.
In fact, fishermen will use dead iguanas as bait for bull sharks, especially in regions where iguanas are considered an invasive species.
39. Tiger Sharks (Galeocerdo cuvier)
Tiger sharks, which can be found from North America down to South America and the Caribbean Islands, are a type of ground shark known for hunting marine iguanas.
These hefty fish can reach a length of 14 feet and weigh up to 1400 pounds! Furthermore, tiger sharks can swim at speeds of up to 20 mph, much faster than their lizard prey.
40. Galapagos Sharks
Galapagos sharks are known for hunting mostly marine iguanas, which are also native to the Galapagos Islands 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean.
They can grow to an average size of 9.8 feet and 480 pounds.
41. Barracuda (Sphyraena barracuda)
Although they’re large carnivorous fish, barracudas are not sharks.
Their torpedo-like bodies help them swim faster to catch smaller fish with razor-sharp teeth.
A fully grown barracuda can measure anywhere from 4-6 feet and weigh up to 20 pounds. They’re found in the Atlantic Ocean from Massachusetts down to Brazil.
Iguanas are usually not part of their diet, but if the opportunity arises, barracudas will not hesitate to hunt and kill a lizard.
42. Pet Dogs (Canis lupus familiaris)
Although most pet dogs probably won’t eat an iguana, their first instinct may be to chase and kill the reptile, especially if the dog belongs to a larger subspecies as smaller dogs are unable to take down full-grown adults.
However, I highly discourage allowing your dog to get close to iguanas, as they can be dangerous, not only because of their tails and sharp teeth but also due to disease.
43. Pet Cats (Felis catus)
Cats may be cute, but they can also be fierce predators. After owning both dogs and cats, the latter seems to have retained more of their natural instincts.
A full-grown iguana may be too large to hunt for a house, but a juvenile, and especially a baby iguana can become easy prey.
Are Iguanas Predators?
Iguanas are not predators as they are herbivores. More specifically, iguanas are folivores, a special type of herbivore that primarily consumes leaves.
There is much misinformation online regarding iguanas eating insects, which would technically make them predators. However, in his book, “The Green Iguana The Ultimate Owner’s Manual,” James Hatfield states that iguanas only eat insects when they happen to be on leaves, and never go out of their way to eat any type of animal protein.
Melissa Kaplan, the author of Iguanas For Dummies, further backs up Hatfield’s claim.
However, just because iguanas aren’t predators doesn’t mean they can’t be dangerous. Check out this post I wrote to learn more about how dangerous iguanas can be.