Iguanas are amazing creatures. They can swim long distances, dive deep into the ocean, and quickly climb trees. But one of the fascinating things about them is their ability to stop their hearts. That’s right; marine iguanas can stop their hearts for up to an hour at a time.
So how do they do it?
Marine iguanas are unique among reptiles in their ability to stop their heart. They must dive to great depths to find food when they enter the water.
This deep diving would be impossible if their heart continued to beat, as the pressure would cause it to collapse.
Instead, the iguana’s heart rate slows dramatically and may even stop entirely in some cases. This phenomenon is known as bradycardia, and it allows the iguana to stay underwater for extended periods of time.
Their heart will gradually beat when they resurface and return to their normal rate. This fantastic adaptation allows marine iguanas to thrive in their aquatic environment.
What other animals can stop their hearts?
While the ability to stop one’s heart may seem like a power unique to humans, several animals have this same ability.
The most well-known example is the jellyfish, which can go into a state of deep sleep known as “suspended animation.”
During this suspension, the jellyfish’s heart stops beating, becoming virtually unresponsive to outside stimuli. However, once awakened, the jellyfish quickly returns to its normal state.
These animals enter into a state of bradycardia, in which their heart rate slows down to the point where it appears to have stopped.
While the mechanism by which they achieve this is not fully understood, it is thought that they can redirect blood flow away from their hearts when necessary.
As a result, they can survive for long periods without food or water. For example, some frogs have lived for years without ever eating! So while the ability to stop one’s heart may seem like a superpower, it is pretty standard in the animal kingdom.
The next time you see a marine iguana basking in the sun or swimming through the water, remember that this incredible creature can stop its heart at will.