The photographer – and iguana fanatic! – says his fleet of reptiles are “chick magnets”

By Helin Jung
Updated December 03, 2009 02:31 PM
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In 1986, Henry Schifberg decided to change his name to something that better represented who he was, so he made it legal. “Even on my driver’s license, it says ‘Henry Lizardlover,’” he tells “I think I have the most famous driver’s license in the world.”

As you might expect, the 54-year-old Lizardlover is a lizard fanatic, and he has a soft spot for his razor-toothed favorite: the iguana. The reptile has become the subject of his whimsically-posed photographs – there are iguanas lounging on little iguana-sized couches, rocking out on the guitar, spooning in bed – and can be found in greeting cards and calendars (2010’s Iguana Hold Your Hand calendar is available for $13.99 on

“The lizards are very calm and trusting to begin with,” Lizardlover says of his photo shoots. “I set them down and I know what position is comfortable for them. The lizard just stays where I set them down – there’s no hypnotizing, no tricks of any kind.”

These easygoing friends have been part of Lizardlover’s life since the early ’80s. He currently has about 22 and is “just trying to keep it simple,” but he’s also had upwards of 50 lizards at one time in his home.

His friendliest pals accompany him around Hollywood, where he sits them down on their special iguana couches at outdoor cafe tables.

“Women typically love the lizards, there’s no doubt about it,” he says. “The lizards are what they call a ‘chick magnet.’ It touches a little sense of awe and wonder. I was the guy that fell in love with the lizards, and I wanted other people to see that.”

After spending nearly 30 years with the reptiles, who can themselves live to be 30 years old, he’s become something of a lizard expert, and has even written a book: the Iguana Owner’s Manual. One trick he’s learned over the years? Iguanas only relieve themselves once a day, and the best thing for cleanup is to put them in the shower in the morning.

“When they feel the water, it’s a trigger,” he explains. “It’s all very nice the way it goes down the drain.”

See our photo gallery of Henry Lizardlover’s iguanas!