Goanna Vs Iguana: Get To Know Which Is Right For You

Goanna and iguana may look similar, but they are actually quite different animals. Whether you’re a reptile enthusiast or just curious about the differences between these two reptiles, you’ll find interesting facts about goanna and iguana in this article. We’ll examine their physical characteristics, habitat, diet, and behavior, so you can better understand why these two animals are so distinct. So, let’s get started and explore the differences between the goanna and iguana.

Large lizards native to Australia and New GuineaNative to Central and South America
Can grow up to 2 meters in lengthCan grow up to 1.5 meters in length
Have a long, thick tail and sharp clawsHave a long tail and sharp claws
Carnivorous dietHerbivorous diet

Goanna Vs Iguana

Goanna Vs Iguana: In-Depth Comparison Chart

A type of large lizardA type of small-medium sized lizard
Native to Australia and New GuineaNative to Central and South America, as well as parts of the Caribbean
Can be over 2 meters in lengthCan be up to 2 feet in length
Mostly carnivorous, eating insects, small mammals, and reptilesOmnivorous, eating flowers, fruits, leaves, insects, and small reptiles
Body covered in scalesBody covered in scales and spines
Generally solitaryCan live in groups
Can live up to 25 yearsCan live up to 20 years

Goanna Vs Iguana: A Comparison

Goannas and iguanas are two species of large lizards found in the world’s tropical and subtropical regions. They share many similarities in terms of their physical characteristics, diet, and habitat. However, there are some distinct differences between the two that can help to differentiate them when observed in the wild or observed in captivity.

Physical Characteristics

Goannas are generally larger than iguanas, with some species reaching lengths of up to two meters. They have long, muscular tails, and their bodies are covered in scales. Iguanas are smaller, typically reaching lengths of one meter or less, and they have shorter, more slender tails. They also have a row of spines running down the length of their backs. Both species have long claws, which they use for climbing and digging.

Goannas and iguanas both have strong legs, allowing them to move quickly over the ground. However, iguanas are more adept climbers, using their claws and prehensile tails to easily scale vertical surfaces. Goannas are more likely to stay on the ground, although they can climb too, just not as well as iguanas.

Goannas have a wide range of coloration, from dark brown to yellow, while iguanas tend to be green in color. Both species have the ability to change their color to match their environment, providing camouflage from predators.


Goannas and iguanas are both omnivorous, meaning they eat both plants and animals. Goannas are primarily carnivorous, feeding on insects, small mammals, and other reptiles, while iguanas are mainly herbivorous, eating mainly leaves, flowers, and fruits. Both species will also occasionally eat eggs and carrion.

Goannas and iguanas both have a slow metabolism, allowing them to survive on very little food. This is especially important in areas where food is scarce, as it enables them to survive in harsh conditions.

Goannas and iguanas both have sharp teeth and powerful jaws, allowing them to tear and chew their food. They also have long, sticky tongues which they use to capture prey.


Goannas are found in a wide range of habitats, including deserts, grasslands, forests, and swamps. They are most commonly found in Australia, although they can also be found in other parts of the world. Iguanas are mainly found in tropical areas, such as South and Central America, although some species are found in the southern United States.

Goannas are mainly terrestrial, living in burrows or on the ground. Iguanas, on the other hand, are mainly arboreal, living in trees and shrubs. Both species are well adapted to their habitats, allowing them to thrive in their chosen environment.

Goannas and iguanas are both adapted to hot climates, with the ability to regulate their body temperature by basking in the sun or retreating to the shade. They also have the ability to survive in cold climates by hibernating during the winter months.


Goannas and iguanas are both solitary animals, living and hunting alone. They are both territorial animals and will fiercely defend their territories from intruders. Goannas will also become aggressive if threatened or cornered.

Goannas and iguanas are both diurnal animals, which means they are active during the day and sleep at night. They spend much of their time basking in the sun, as well as foraging for food and avoiding predators. Goannas also spend time digging burrows to sleep in.

Goannas and iguanas are both social animals and can be seen interacting with each other in the wild. They use a variety of vocalizations and body language to communicate with one another.


Goannas and iguanas both reproduce sexually, with the males competing for the attention of the females. Both species lay eggs, which are usually buried in the ground or in a burrow. The eggs are left to incubate and hatch on their own.

Goannas and iguanas are both long-lived animals, with some species living up to 20 years in the wild. They are relatively slow-growing animals, taking several years to reach maturity.

Goannas and iguanas are both fascinating and unique creatures, with many similarities and differences. Although they look similar, they have distinct characteristics that make them easily distinguishable in the wild.

Goanna Vs Iguana Pros & Cons

Pros of Goanna

  • It is a great source of food for both humans and other animals.
  • It has an interesting and unusual look.
  • It is relatively easy to care for.

Cons of Goanna

  • It can be aggressive and may bite if it feels threatened.
  • It requires a large enclosure in order to thrive.
  • It is not a good pet for small children.

Pros of Iguana

  • It is an interesting and unique pet.
  • It is relatively easy to care for.
  • It is a gentle pet.

Cons of Iguana

  • It requires a large enclosure in order to thrive.
  • It can be aggressive if it feels threatened.
  • It has special dietary needs.

Goanna Vs Iguana 2

Goanna Vs Iguana – The Final Decision

When it comes to making a decision between Goanna and Iguana, there are many factors to consider. Both animals have their own unique characteristics, as well as benefits and drawbacks. In the end, the decision comes down to personal preference and environment.

When it comes to size, Goannas are much larger than Iguanas. A full-grown Goanna can reach up to three feet in length, while an Iguana usually maxes out at two feet. Goannas are also much more powerful than Iguanas, with a stronger bite and claws that can easily crush shells and other food items. In terms of temperament, Goannas are generally more timid and less aggressive than Iguanas.

When it comes to environment, Iguanas are more adaptable to a variety of climates and terrains. They can thrive in a wide range of temperatures and are suitable for both indoor and outdoor living. Goannas, on the other hand, are more suited to a dry, desert-like environment and generally require a higher temperature and humidity range.

Ultimately, the decision between Goanna and Iguana comes down to personal preference and environment. When choosing between these two animals, consider the following:

  • Size – Goannas are larger than Iguanas
  • Temperament – Goannas are generally more timid and less aggressive
  • Environment – Iguanas are more adaptable to a variety of climates and terrains

In the end, the decision will come down to the individual’s needs and preferences. For those looking for an adaptable pet that can survive in a variety of climates, an Iguana would be the best choice. For those looking for a larger, more powerful animal, a Goanna would be the better option.

Frequently Asked Questions: Goanna Vs Iguana

Goannas and iguanas are both reptiles that share many similarities, but there are also some very distinct differences between them. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common questions regarding these two animals.

What is the difference between goannas and iguanas?

The most obvious difference between goannas and iguanas is their size. Goannas are much larger reptiles, typically growing up to 6 feet in length, while iguanas only grow up to 5 feet. Goannas also have much bigger and more powerful claws, which are used for digging and climbing, while iguanas have smaller, weaker claws. Goannas are also more aggressive than iguanas and can be very dangerous if provoked.

Another difference is that goannas are carnivorous, while iguanas are primarily herbivorous. This means that goannas eat a wide variety of animals, including rodents, birds, reptiles, and even insects, while iguanas mainly consume vegetation. Goannas also have a much larger home range, as they can roam over large areas in search of food, while iguanas tend to stay in one area.

Where do goannas and iguanas live?

Goannas and iguanas both live in tropical and subtropical climates. Goannas can be found in Australia, Asia, and Africa, while iguanas mainly inhabit Central and South America. Goannas prefer dry, rocky areas where they can hide and hunt, while iguanas prefer more humid and tropical environments, such as rainforests and swamps.

Do goannas and iguanas make good pets?

Goannas and iguanas can both make excellent pets, depending on the individual animal. Goannas require a lot more space and care than iguanas, and they can be very aggressive if they are not handled properly. If you are considering getting a goanna as a pet, it is important to make sure you have the knowledge and resources to properly care for it.

Iguanas, on the other hand, are much easier to care for and generally make better pets. They are not as aggressive as goannas and can be handled with more ease. Iguanas also need less space than goannas, so they can be kept in smaller enclosures. However, it is important to note that iguanas are still wild animals and require specialized care.

Are goannas and iguanas dangerous?

Goannas can be very dangerous if provoked. They have powerful claws and sharp teeth, which they use to defend themselves against predators. They are also very aggressive and can be quite territorial, so they should be approached with caution.

Iguanas, on the other hand, are not as dangerous as goannas. They are not as aggressive and are generally more docile creatures. However, they can still bite and scratch, so it is important to handle them with care.

Do goannas and iguanas eat the same food?

Goannas and iguanas do not eat the same food. Goannas are carnivorous, meaning they eat a wide variety of animals, including rodents, birds, reptiles, and even insects. Iguanas, on the other hand, are primarily herbivorous, meaning they mainly eat vegetation. It is important to provide goannas and iguanas with the correct diet in order to keep them healthy.

Iguana vs Snakes (Full Clip) | Planet Earth II | BBC Earth

The debate between the Goanna and Iguana is one that will continue for years, as both creatures have their own unique characteristics and abilities. While Goannas may have the edge in terms of size and agility, Iguanas have the edge when it comes to their intelligence and diet. Ultimately, the choice between the two is up to you and your individual preferences. Regardless of your choice, both species can offer a wonderful experience when it comes to owning a reptilian pet.