General Question

Trance24's avatar

How do you tag juvenile iguanas?

Asked by Trance24 (3299 points ) June 14th, 2012

I am currently working at the iguana breeding station on Utila island off the cost of Honduras, but there are some improvements to be made. They are having a hard time keeping track of the population on the island due to the tagging method. Tagging the adults is the easy part, you can simply put a band on their leg with a unique number. However, as a breeding station juveniles are released into the wild after being hatched and cared for at the station. I am trying to find out a better method of tagging these juveniles so that the station one knows that its one of their iguanas, and two it also allows them to know the juvenile survival rate. We need a system that will one mark the iguana with a unique number and possibly color to differentiate it from the wild igunanas, but it also needs to be something the juveniles won’t grow out of and won’t become a hazard. So, any ideas?

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12 Answers

syz's avatar

The San Diego Zoo uses colored bead tagging

Trance24's avatar

Yea they were apparently using this method but when you have 190 hatchlings or more each breeding cycle you begin to run out of colors, that why we need something big enough to put special numbers.

Sunny2's avatar

Sorry. I can only think of flippant answers. Is this really the place to ask such a question? Silly me. Of course, it is. Somebody here knows something about everything

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Add a ninth color and use two tags instead of one.

thorninmud's avatar

Would it be feasible to use RFID tags? They are sometimes used to tag pet iguanas. Maybe in conjunction with a single visible color marker to show that it has been tagged?

XOIIO's avatar

Pit tags are used in fish

wait, you have to kill them later, damn

Another thing is like @thorninmud said, use passive RFID tags, they are small, cheap and easy to get.

augustlan's avatar

[mod says] This is our Question of the Day!

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@thorninmud Are RFID tags the same as the chips they use in dogs now? Or would that be too expensive?

syz's avatar

You could use the same technique as the bead tagging but use numbered tags.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
thorninmud's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe Right, same thing. I’m having trouble finding cost info. Here’s a company that markets RFID products specifically for biological research. They might be a good source for information.

Trance24's avatar

Thanks for the ideas guys, unfortunately I think the RFID tags may be too expensive for this facility. It already costs a lot just to get things out to this island once they arrive on the Honduras mainland.

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