5 Essential Iguana Care Tips

Iguanas are magnificent reptiles and owning them means knowing them. Knowing about them will make caring for them so much easier. I highly recommend doing your own research as unfortunately some pet stores will tell you what you want to hear in order to make “the sale”.

Here are 5 quick and easy iguana care tips:

1. I highly recommend starting your iguana out in a 20 gallon aquarium (or its equal). Before bringing him/her home, make sure the enclosure is ready for housing. Make sure your iguana enclosure has UVA and UVB lighting, heat lamp (I don’t recommend “heat rocks” as reptiles in general tend to stay on them and can burn), hide box (babies will hide) and a water container large enough for your iguana to completely submerge in (they love water).

2. After bringing your iguana home, place it in it’s already prepared enclosure and let it settle in for a day or so. It’s imperative to allow your new addition to acclimate to its new surrounding. Once acclimated (after a day or two), start holding your iguana for a few minutes two or three times a day. This will help “tame” your iguana making him/her more secure and trusting.

3. Being a tropical to sub-tropical species of reptile, high humidity inside the enclosure will be essential (80% or higher), as is proper temperature. Temperature during the day will need to be around 88 – 93 degrees (f). At night, lower the temperature to 75 – 78 degrees (f). Use a UVB “black light” to accomplish this and place it on the opposite side of the “day” lamp.

4. Don’t be alarmed if your iguana shy’s away from food for the first couple of days. This is quite common until acclimated to its new surroundings. It’s still vital to put their food inside their enclosure. Start them out with finely cut romaine lettuce and red cabbage (they love romaine lettuce) for a few days. This will “break them in” and prompt them to feed.

Iguanas can and will become “lettuce junkies” which can lead to malnutrition which causes Fibrous Osteodystrophy (metabolic bone disease) so its important to feed them a variety of different vegetables, fruits and flowers and in the percentages given below:

*80% vegetables (clover, romaine lettuce, squash, green beans, peas, mustard greens, collard greens, kale and turnip greens).
*10% fruits (melons, bananas, grapes, strawberries, apples and pears).
*10% flowers (hibiscus, roses, carnations and even dandelions). One flower to avoid is the azalea. Although beautiful, the azalea is poisonous (toxic) to iguanas, so avoid this flower.

In its simplest form: 80% vegetables + 10% fruits + 10% flowers = 100% nutrition!

5. Keeping your iguana enclosure clean is very important! If their enclosure is dirty, your iguana can become susceptible to parasites. Parasites can and eventually will cause sickness or worse kill your iguana (s). If you see fecal matter, rotting food, or clouding in their water, clean the enclosure immediately.

In conclusion, Mimicking nature is the surest way of keeping your iguana healthy and happy.
As time goes by, you won’t believe that your once little lizard is now as long as you. Once your iguana matures, you’ll feel as if he/she is part of the family!

The final step is to find a good exotic veterinarian for your iguana. It’s nice to know that if something should ever go wrong, you have an exotic veterinarian who knows your iguana and what it takes to keep them happy and healthy.

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