Well. This is for a hard sci-fi fiction. The main protagonist, an Action Girl, has just met her sidekick: an humanoid Iguana (it makes sense and it is explained why Iguana-people people exist (has to do with a lab accident) but I feel like it is not relevant for this question.

A nice thing to say about this iguana people is there they are more "iguana" than people. They the size of your average human (when stading on their hind legs, but they prefer to walk on all fours). They think like people (well... They are A LOT more violent than your avarege human and don't understand some abstract terms very well...But they're not mindless beasts), but they still run strongly on instincts.

And. At this part, the protagonist got attacked by this Iguana guy thing, and they are fighting, and she needs to render it uncapable of figthing back, but still conscious. But, acording to science, the usual ways seem to not work:

A punch to the liver:

The scale plating on it's belly is going to protect it.

Inside of the mouth:

Maybe... But the protaginist is not wielding any weapons on this scene, and I think she is not dumb enougth to put her hand inside a mouth full of teeth that can cut her arm off neat. Since instinstinct is a big a part of the Iguana people, do this would decidely be a dumb idea.

A kick to the crocth:

It might surprise the creature a bit? But I don't think this would WORK, ...since Iguanas have all their organs on the inside, plus lots of scales plates protecting the area (and humanoid or not, it's a IGUANA, so the cloaca opening would be at the base of tail, not between his legs. One idea is that the force of the impact was enough to break his pelvis, but that would be very impratical for the rest of the plot.

So. arcoding so Science! what is the best way to render it unable to figthback, but still able to speak to you? How? I don't think repitiles have many weak spots, besides their eyes, of course,but blinding the sidekick would ALSO be impratical for the story.

Of course, I could also just make up an obivious weak spot, but came on. This is sci-fi, ACURRATE sci-fi, (well...Sorta) so I wanted something sciency to explain it, instead of just some "this is a massive weakspot because the author needed one".

Anyone here is a herptologist of sorts and can lecture me on iguanas weak spots?

  • $\begingroup$ Consider reptoids as a source of material for reptilian races. They were supposedly evolved from Troodontids, and conspiracy theorists believe they really exist (so there's fascinating content online). $\endgroup$ – DWKraus Apr 17 at 2:14
  • $\begingroup$ how fast the iguana is ? maybe try to outrun it or out last it ? since human is a persistent hunter with stamina perk. or at least try to grab rock to throw or punch using it maybe it give more impact to the iguana. also do iguana has blind spot? if they has it, maybe try to keep moving there. $\endgroup$ – Li Jun Apr 17 at 6:58
  • $\begingroup$ oh yeah since you mention that they prefer to walk on all four what about doing the steve irwin thing ? unless the iguana has hard spiky in the back rather than the soft one. $\endgroup$ – Li Jun Apr 17 at 7:22
  • $\begingroup$ and maybe also punch it like this $\endgroup$ – Li Jun Apr 17 at 7:40
  • $\begingroup$ Threatening it with a cryogenic liquid would probably work... actually, that would probably work on just about anything. $\endgroup$ – Matthew Apr 17 at 14:53

I'm no specialist, but here's a few ideas:

1-the eyes. Like it or not, despite having additional protection due to a nictiatig membrane that protects it, especially while swimming, it's a good alternative compared to the mouth. Also They have poor depth perception, meaning getting far enough from it will mean an advantage (its common for iguanas to fall off branches due to wrong calculations when jumping from a branch to another.)

2-the third eye. On top of the iguana's head lies a clear structure known as the "third eye". It's actually the iguana's pineal gland and it's main function seems to be to help detect the approach of arterial predators. If your iguana people are strongly instinct driven, even if you fail to hit it, which I assume could stun it for a short bit, casting a good enough shadow might trigger a flight response, distracting it from your character and giving her precious time to escape its grasp.

3-the nose. This one is more speculation, as there's little information I've found about people incapaticating iguanas to begin with, let alone the effects of hitting its nose, but their nose is location for the salt glands, which help in osmoregulation. If there's no other choice, there's a small chance that hitting the nose or the glands might make it back off for a second or two, but still better than shoving your fist inside its mouth.

Now a quick analysis on behavior, since it might influence how to react and possibly allow you to end the fight more easily: if the attacking iguana is a male, there's a good chance that all your character needs to do is get out of its grip and act defeated. Sexually mature male iguanas can very territorial, especially during breeding season, to the point pet iguanas will commonly attack their owners, should they assume they're invading their territory. If that's the case, your character might not have noticed it extend it's dewlap (the flap of skin on its neck) in an aggressive display before charging. In this case, backing off quickly and acting non-threateningly (lean down, act submissive, wait till it flops the dewlap, meaning it calmed down) will show you you're not a threat nor a rival and might be enough to end the fight.

Other, worse case assumption is that the iguana might see your protagonist as a potential mate, and don't just take my word for it on that, see the following quote from the article:

"most nonterritorial males stayed on the periphery of mating territories and attempted to force copulations on unguarded females (peripheral male behavior). Uncooperative females were mounted by as many as three males simultaneously. Females resisted 95% of the 200 observed mating attempts by peripheral males, but only 56% of the attempts by territorial males"

So yeah, either assumption sounds bad, but one will be easier to get out of than the other.

So summing up, I'd recommend going for the normal eyes or pineal eye, as they seem to be the easiest, least dangerous options; maybe the nose if you can't manage to hit either of the other 2. However, neither of them will incapacitate it for long, but they will buy time, which will help you in the long run, allowing you to either get a weapon, change your behavior or find a more advantageous place. Other than those, I don't think iguanas have any kind of weak spot that will "shut it down", especially for long periods (it just doesn't make sense to have that from an evolutionary perspective). The closest from what you're looking for would be to lower its body temperature, slowing its metabolism and leaving it mostly helpless in terms of being able to move. To do it hit it with a pack of ice over and over, force it to stay inside a pool with cold water (and add ice if possible) or move the fight to a fridge chamber if you can. That way it's only option will be to try and find a warmer place, and even then it will likely have to stay on slow activity till it's warm again (expect the dewlap to extend again, it also work as a means of thermoregulation and helps it heat up). Also note that, since it's as large as a human and due to the square cube law, it won't cool down instantly nor as fast as a normal iguana, even if it's not as good at keeping its own temperature as an endothermic animal.

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I have an idea, but I'm not sure how much you'll like it. A parietal eye that senses light can be found on some lizard species and on tuataras. This parietal eye is usually located on the forehead of the lizard, and appears almost invisible. If your character knows about this, they could punch or attack the parietal eye to daze the humanoid iguana.

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Go for the head

The jaw is easier to break, iguana jaws have joints in them and are poorly articulated, thus much easier to injure. plus if you miss you have a decent chance of smacking them in the eye.

the ear is far more vulnerable with a single large ear bone and a large exposed membrane surface. it is the same size as a human external ear if not bigger, but instead of damaging some skin and cartilage you are puncturing the ear drum and likely breaking the ear bone. this may be your best choice.

If they are intelligent they need a enlarged brain and an iguana skull is not going to allow for that as easily as a mammal skull, so there is going the be compromises with the jaw muscles that will leave thin struts of bone that can be broken.

Wear them out.

If they are cold blooded just long game them, they will fatigue way faster than a human. if they are warm blooded they have no good way to cool off so if you can force rigorous exercise like distance running you can overheat them. Either way their endurance will be abysmal, humans on the other hand have amazing endurance even among mammals. Sweating keeps us cool and running does not interfere with our breathing so we can wear out almost anything as long as we can force a contest of endurance. This is likely your second best bet, or best if you don't want to permanently injure them.

Go for the joint lock

humans are remarkable flexible especially in the shoulder. An iguana based skeleton will have less flexible or weaker limb joints.

Go for the neck.

Scales will not offer any real protection from strangulation, and iguana don't have the same protective neck bones (cervical ribs)some other reptiles have. so you can still choke them out. Their necks will have to be longer to stick an iguana like head on a upright torso anyway. The neck will be larger however so she might need a belt or garrote.

Go for the kidneys.

Scales don't offer much protection against the kind of damage a human can do, which is mostly blunt trauma. Your kidney shot will work but you have to aim lower. That way you are hammering there gonads or the kidneys, either way their gonna have a bad time. They don't have ribs all the way down so just like humans those organs are exposed if not more exposed since the take up a much larger portion of the unprotected lumbar region. Basically aim just above the leg.

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