Home WORLD Preserving Prehistoric Lizards With the Iguana King

Preserving Prehistoric Lizards With the Iguana King

We’ve all met a crazy cat lady or maybe a neighbor with an insane collection of pet turtles. Now, let us introduce you to Ramón Medina Archundia: the iguana guy. Archundia loves iguanas so much that he fosters hundreds of them in his front yard in Manzanilla, Mexico.

image/text credit: Great Big Story

Forty-one years ago, he adopted about 40 of these prehistoric-looking lizards to protect them from hunters and bring awareness to their dwindling numbers. Now, each one represents a new family member that he cares for and treats as if they were his own children. Leapin’ lizards!Today, Iguanario Archundia is home to over 640 iguanas, as well as other ‘donated’ animals like raccoons, badgers or turtles.

You might be wondering why Ramon didn’t set all these iguanas free, if he cared about them so much. It turns out that living in the wild isn’t the safest option for these endangered creatures, at least not in Mexico, where they have been hunted to the point of extinction, either for their hides, or to be sold as pets.


There are guamuchil trees for sunbathing, a drainage canal for the occasional splash, and plenty of food provided by Ramon and his family.Best of all, the iguana are free to come and go — if they choose. But what would be the point? The sanctuary is a secure place to fill a belly and find a mate.