Brave woman hand feeds ferocious looking lizard
Brave woman hand feeds ferocious looking lizard

Iguanas are large lizards that can grow to almost five feet in length and weigh well over ten pounds.

They have hundreds of large, sharp teeth and very powerful jaws.

These teeth are capable of shredding leaves and would easily tear or cut human skin.

A row of spines on their back, along with a powerful whip tail gives them more than adequate protection from predators.

They can be territorial and aggressive to humans, especially if they feel threatened.

But generally, an iguana has no reason to attack or try to injure a person who is not acting in a threatening manner.

This large male is actually a green iguana, despite the fact that his brilliant orange and gold coloring would suggest otherwise.

He is a resident at a resort near Playa Del Carmen, Mexico and he is accustomed to humans walking past or stopping to photograph him.

One sharp tourist watched what he was eating and she noticed that he had a preference for dark purple berries that were falling from the trees above.

Knowing that iguanas select their food based largely on color and smell, she gathered up a handful of the little treats and stretched out on the walkway where he could see her holding them out.

The lizard boldly walked up and began eating them out of her hand with a surprising gentleness and curiosity.

This gave the lucky tourist a close up look at the lizard like few people have had.

This interaction also caused quite a spectacle and other onlookers began photographing and video taping the whole thing excitedly.

Not surprisingly, nobody else volunteered to get so close to it's impressive jaws.

The lizard posed for the camera allowing a very good look at its eyes, face and even the large flap of skin under its chin.

This is called a dewlap and it is used to help regulate body temperature in the hot climates where these iguanas thrive.

It can also be used in courtship displays or as a means of deterring competitors who are in their territory.

Interacting so closely with wild animals is rarely recommended but these iguanas have been coexisting closely with humans for long enough that such an encounter is not likely to change the animal's behavior in any appreciable way.

Another important thing to note is that the tourist did not approach the lizard or move at all.

The encounter was completely on the iguana's terms.