Robotic Spy Iguana Sneakily Records a Mess at Feeding Time

A robot iguana swims underwater.

One of these iguanas is not like the others.

Atop a rocky surface, a “mess” of iguanas — that’s the official term — basks in the sunlight, an essential part of the day for these cold-blooded lizards. However, one of these iguanas doesn’t need to warm up at all. It’s a robotic iguana spy here to capture footage of the others.

This isn’t the first robo-animal camera sent to record the natural world covertly. John Downer Productions, which also made the iguana video, sent a robot crab underwater, which ended up capturing a busy day for a peacock mantis shrimp and took a severe punch in the process. Ouch.

Luckily for this robo-guana, no fists, claws, or talons were thrown. Instead, viewers are treated to a video of the iguanas sunbathing before diving into the water, where all the good stuff is. As narrator David Tennant explains, the craggy land doesn’t offer much nutrients, but the water is rich with algae. Once sufficiently warmed, the mess of iguanas plunges in one by one.

An iguana on a rock prepares to dive into the water.

A robot iguana is seen underwater.

“Where they go, our spy must follow,” Tennant tells viewers.

But they’re on a tight schedule. As mentioned, iguanas are cold-blooded, so their body temperature is heavily affected by their environments; they can only spend half an hour amid the surf.

Like the real iguanas, the robot spy swims through the water using its tail to propel through space before diving down below to “the best feeding grounds.” They must eat quickly before their bodies get too cold to swim back to the surface. The trusty spy gets an eyeful of another iguana meal time. It’s a bit rude, but the iguana seems too busy stuffing its face as quickly as possible to notice.

A robot iguana looks over at a real iguana underwter.

Finally, the video shows the sated iguana grabbing the check for dinner in time, swimming up and up toward the waves on the surface, sunlight poking through the blue of the water.

John Downer Products has made several documentary videos featuring incredibly lifelike robotic animals that operate as spy cameras. These have been featured on PBS and the BBC, as are the crab and iguana videos.

Image credits: John Downer Productions