Green Iguanas are native to Mexico, Central America, islands in the Caribbean, and South America. Free-ranging adults live in trees eating leaves and blossoms. Most pet iguanas are from “farms” in Central America and imported for the pet trade. Maximum life span is listed as 25 years, with average captive life span at least 7 years.
They can reach 5-6 feet in total length with the body weight of 15-18 pounds. They are sexually mature between 2-4 years of age. Adult males have a taller dorsal spine, larger dewlap, operculum scales, bilateral hemipenal bulges at the base of the tail, and large, well-developed femoral pores.
Many exhibit seasonal aggression once mature. Consult your veterinarian for behavioral and health management.
Iguana Care Sheet (includes red, green and blue iguanas)
Iguanas are 100% Herbivores. Leafy, Calcium-rich greens: This group should make up at least 70% to 80% of the diet: Collard, turnip, mustard and dandelion greens, chard, kale, parsley, etc.
Chopped grass, alfalfa hay or pellets can be offered: pellets may need to be soaked prior to feeding. Spinach fed in small quantities occasionally as it contains high concentrations of oxalates.
Almost any dark and leafy green is beneficial, but it is important to rotate them so as to avoid a build up of oxalates and phytates that will bind calcium, and also goitrogens that will bind iodine.
20% of the green iguanas diet should be composed of vegetables. Yellow, red or orange veggies are preferred. Choices include sweet potato, carrot, beet, squash, red bell pepper.
Less than 10% of iguana iguana diet should be composed of fruit. The fruit is very calcium poor and should only be fed on a limited basis. Choices include; melon, papaya, berries, banana, kiwi, apple.
Small amounts of low-fat non animal protein (ie. Mori Nu low fat Tofu) can be offered a couple of times a week but is not required. Additionally, we highly recommend edible flowers such as dandelion, nasturtium, hibiscus, pansy, etc. Flowers are part of the wild diet of green iguanas and are usually eaten readily. Iguanas seem to prefer red to purple colored flowers.
A basking area should be provided with a temperature of 90-95o F. A cooler area in the high 70’s to low 80’s should be provided allowing your iguana to regulate their body temperature by moving from one area to another.
Thermometers are necessary to ensure a proper temperature gradient. A “Temp Gun” can be used to read surface temperatures and is recommended.
Radiant heat sources (heat lamps) should be used as they provide a more natural and safer method of delivering heat than other sources. Heat rocks should never be used.
Ceramic heat emitter bulbs are preferred as they do not emit visible light and can be left on at night after the light producing basking bulbs have been switched off.
Iguana require a specific wavelength of light called UVB for their health. UVB is necessary for the proper absorption of calcium.
Green iguanas come from the rain forest where humidity is near 100%. In captivity, misting the iguana 2-3 times a day will help elevate the humidity.
A humidistat should be purchased to monitor the humidity in the cage. In some cases, a humidifier may be necessary to bolster humidity.
Freshwater should always be available in a water dish ideally one large enough for the iguana to submerge.
Many iguanas will defecate in their water bowls making for easy cleanup but also necessitating frequent cleaning and sanitizing of the bowl.
Iguanas Cage and Habitat
How to Build An Iguana Cage?
Usually, iguana cages are big boxes built from metal wire, glass, plastic, and sealed wood. On the other hand, it should be accessible and at the same time easy to maintain.
Read more: Top 4 Best Iguana Cage Reviews 2021
The cage of your iguana should have a smooth surface. Even so, iguanas may exceed 6ft. in length, thus it is best that you may a closet-size age.
Furthermore, make that the cage can accommodate UV lights, heat lamps, thermometers, as well as big perches and climbing trees.
Nevertheless, an iguana cage requires ventilation, however, the amount needed differs from condition to condition.
How to Decorate An Iguana Cage?
Decorating an iguana’s cage could be as simple as buying plants online. Even so, the idea of ornamenting your pet’s cage will revolve around the handy setup.
Since a multilevel environment is needed, ladders are very important. Your iguana needs a nice way to get from top to bottom.
However, this does not mean that you need to use a real ladder, though it is possible. Many iguana owners decorate their pet’s cages using beautiful branches and logs that are slanted across.
Apart from ladders, you can also use safe plants like African violets, spider plant, and snake plant when decorating a cage.
How to choose the right light for heating iguanas?
With regards to indoor lighting, UVB is your main concern. In the actual fact, you may possibly obtain enough amount of UVA from a usual bedroom window.
Read more: 5 Best Heat Lamp for Iguana Reviews for 2019 Updated Guide
However, UVB gets obstructed by the glass. Having that said, you need to ensure that you buy a lighting product that is specifically made to give off UVB light.
Keep in mind that if you do not provide your iguana a sufficient exposure to UVB light, it’ll have a hard time gripping calcium from the food. In fact, it may cause various health issues.
Please note: when choosing your bulb, UVA is not the same as UVB. You can bring your bulb, fixture and cage top (screen) in anytime and we can check the UVB output with our meter and give you the distance your iguana needs to reach for effective UVB.
What is the Proper Humidity for Iguanas?
Iguanas need high humidity. These creatures, on the other hand, need a persistent humidity level of 60 to 75 percent.
However, maintaining the humidity level inside the cage at a proper level can be very difficult.
One of the best ways that you can do in order to increase the level of humidity is spritzing your iguana and the cage with water a couple of times every day. Aside from that, you can also install a humidifier in the area in which the cage is kept.
How to Clean An Iguana Cage?
Here are some useful tips to keep your iguana’s cage clean:
- Clean the cage surfaces using hot water and soap.
- Remove all the décors in the cage.
- Clean the poop as soon as you see it.
- Wash the water and food bowls on a regular basis.
- Disinfect the cage weekly, but make sure to transfer your iguana to a safe place.
- Get rid of the uneaten foods from your pet’s cage daily since they cause bacterial development.
- Remove sneeze salt deposits by wiping the glass regularly.
- Dispose of the shedding skin from the cage that you may find because it may be infested with fungal infection.
Iguana Diet and Food
The iguana is a lizard with sharp claws and powerful limbs. They are commonly known as American iguanas or green iguanas. This reptile requires the proper diet in their food to be healthy and maintain their vibrant green coloring. A green iguana prefers green vegetables, fruits, vitamins, minerals, etc. in your feeding to them. So what do iguanas eat? How do you feed them properly? Are there any tips for feeding iguanas for proper nutrition? If you are asking those questions, then we have got the answers for you! Join us as we explain how to properly feed your pet iguana.
A proper diet is necessary for you to grow, develop, maintain the tissue of your muscles, organs, organic tissues, and keep all things functioning properly.
For an iguana to obtain adequate growth, it needs proteins, carbohydrates, fats, fiber, vitamins, minerals and other necessary trace elements. When fed well and with good nutrition an iguana can live up to about 15 years. Can Iguanas eat kale? An adult green iguana strictly prefers to have vegetarian food, they feed mainly on leaves, flowers, fruits, and different plant species. The iguana’s diet should be made up of 30-40% of vegetables rich in calcium, among which are endive, romaine lettuce, beet, cabbage, chard, parsley or spinach. Other vegetables such as tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, peppers and beans are also recommended. We can also include a small amount of fiber by offering small pieces of bread from time to time.
The fruit should also be part of your diet, but without excess, since it contains sugars, it is best to not exceed 15% of their diet. Strawberries, banana, apple (raw and with skin), melon and pear are advisable.
What Kinds Of Insects Do Iguanas Eat?
Do iguanas eat crickets? A young green iguana may want to eat some insects. This adds to fats, nutrients and more muscles and the immune system. These iguanas should be fed 2 times a day, while the adult green iguana can be fed only once a day. Insects that these young iguanas eat are usually meal worms, crickets, and other bugs. However it is recommended that you only feed your iguanas vegetables. Most iguanas that are observed eating insects are either very young or they eat the insects accidentally along with plant matter.
What ís The Best Vegetables For Iguanas?
Can Iguanas eat celery? What sorts of vegetables can Iguanas eat anyway? We answer your questions with a list of vegetables that are popularly fed to these pets. Iguanas are mainly vegetarian reptiles. A green iguana has high calcium needs in its green diet. Calcium can be provided to the iguana with vegetables in its diet. A diet rich in nitrogen and green beans are a good addition to the diet of reptiles. These iguanas like to have more fresh vegetables in their diet.
- Cauliflower celery
What Kinds Of Fruits Do Iguanas Eat?
The diet of a green iguana should include fruits, these will keep potassium and phosphorus in the body of the reptile. An adequate amount of calcium, potassium and phosphorus in your diet will lead to keeping the iguana green, healthy and happy. Now, you may have questions about the specific fruits that Iguanas can eat such as Can Iguanas eat grapes? Can Iguanas eat strawberries? Can Iguanas eat apples? All of these fruits are quite different but sure, they can but they should be prepared well. Fruits should be cut into pieces and with their skin, they can be strawberries, apples, raspberries, watermelon, grapes and cherries.
Can Iguanas Eat Bananas?
Yes, Iguanas may eat bananas. However, do not feed them rotting or overripe bananas. The tannins that are present in oxidizing bananas can become toxic if there is too much of it.
Can Iguanas Eat Blueberries?
Yes, however it should be noted that in the same case with bananas, Iguanas have to be fed fresh blueberries, so that it does not end up giving them food poisoning. Rotting or overripe blueberries when fed too much to pet Iguanas can make them sick.
Can Iguanas Eat Watermelons?
This is another fruit that Iguanas love to eat because of its soft interior. However, to feed it to Iguanas we advise that it is cut open and into smaller chunks. This is so that the Iguanas have a much easier time getting to the nutritious and delicious center.
What sorts of foods you should not give to iguanas:As often happens with all pets, the green iguana does not have an organism prepared to digest some food, or it could even be very dangerous to their health. The foods you should avoid are:
For adults and most iguanas Insects and in general, what is called live food
- Eggs and derivatives
- Milk and derivatives
- Pasta food for insectivorous animals
- Feed for other animals other than iguanas
Remember! The iguana follows a vegetarian diet, it does not eat anything of animal origin! But even so, their vegetable food must be varied, rich and of quality.
There are vegetables that are not very suitable for their high content of oxalic acid (a substance that cannot be metabolized by the iguana and that can be harmful if ingested in large quantities)
Among them are spinach Swiss chard, broccoli. So feed these to Iguanas in moderate amounts.
Tannin is another substance that in large quantities can be harmful to them. It is present in spinach and some fruits such as grapes, bananas or apples when they are oxidized or rotting.
Iguanas Health and Illness
How to Take Care of An Iguana?
Though iguanas can be a good pet, they aren’t easy to take care of. In fact, if they’re not taken care of correctly, whether you like it or not, your iguana will die.
This is because an iguana has a wide variety of distinct dietary and environmental needs. On the other hand, by feeding your pet iguana correctly and making a good habitat, you will guarantee that your iguana will thrive in its new home.
Signs of A Sick Iguana
Iguanas take a long time to get sick as well as to get well. However, having an idea about the signs of a sick iguana is very important.
Listed below are the usual signs of sick iguanas.
- Stool changes
- Sleeping or taking a nap during the day
- Change from the day-to-day routine
- Reduced eating
- Dramatic or slight wobbling
- Discharge from vent, mouth, or nose
- Swollen trunk or limbs
- Muscle paralyzes, weakness, and tremors
- Changes in energy levels, appearance, weight, alertness, and body color.
How Often Do Iguanas Shed?
Usually, baby iguanas shed every four to six weeks, but for grown-ups, it could be once in one year. Adult iguanas, however, do not shed all of the skin like baby iguanas do.
On the other hand, an iguana shedding its old skin should be taken care of while in the process. But it may possibly cause infection since it does not fully shed its skin like other reptiles.
How to Trim Iguana Claws (Iguana Grooming)?
Here’s how to trim the claws of your iguana properly.
- Step 1
Gather all the needed supplies: towel, nail clippers, and styptic powder.
- Step 2
Wrap your iguana using a towel leaving the foot to be trimmed. Then hold the foot properly.
- Step 3
Check the claws closely, you will see a thicker and thinner part. On the thinner part, you only need to trim a small portion.
Further, avoid cutting the nails too short and make your pet bleed. Nevertheless, if you trim the nail accidentally and you can’t stop the bleeding you can put styptic powder.
- Step 4
Repeat the above-mentioned steps with the rest of your iguana’s nails.
How to Clean An Iguana?
When it comes to cleaning your iguana, you should bathe him/her once a week in a tub. The bath, however, should last for about 15 to 30 minutes.
Furthermore, make sure to use warm water when cleaning. Aside from that, don’t add human shampoo and soap in the water because they will make your iguana’s skin dry.
After the bathing is finished, allow your iguana to come out of the tub and wipe it with a clean towel.
The Truth On How Big Do Iguanas Grow
The Green Iguanas are the most common pet types. They live up to 10-12 years of age. Some live even up to 20 years. Iguanas are herbivorous lizards. Do you know big do Iguanas grow? The green Iguanas can grow quite large even up to 7 feet. It weighs up to 20 pounds. Iguanas can be quite strong.
If you are looking to have Iguanas as pets, it is a huge commitment according to us. We want to inform and make you aware of how big it can grow. Many owners are not aware of how long their pet green Iguanas can grow and worry later that they could not take care and provide the necessary space for their pet in their home space. They are also not aware of the cost of its needs and the food it needs to stay healthy.
We want you to be aware that it requires a huge commitment in terms of space and money. The popularity of having Iguanas as a friendly pet has reduced greatly.
You will be surprised to know more about its growth. Read below.
How Big is a Full grown Iguana?
Yes! You heard it right! A fully-grown Iguana measure somewhere between 6-7 feet. They can grow pretty big. This makes many of you think if you can own it as a pet and if you will have space for it in your home to move around. Most pet Iguanas are grown and allowed to move freely around the home if the owner wishes too. Many owners prefer growing them in cages if there are kids who are scared to see them.
As written in the Reptiles magazine, the green Iguanas weigh 11 pounds and are over 6 feet.
Green Iguanas mostly live in rain forests. They are found in north Mexico, Central America, South Brazil awnd the Caribbean islands. Do you know the fact that the Green Iguanas can detach their tail if they are caught by a predator? Later a new tail grows back. Isn’t it interesting to see them grow back?
The Iguana hut website mentions that the Iguana body length and tail is 20-27 inches in year one and reaches the maximum in year seven and up when its body length and tail is 50-72 inches.
How big do Iguanas Grow in Captivity?
Pet Iguanas are grown in captivity which is a closed space or a cage with only one opening on the top to come out of it. Research says that Iguanas that grow in captivity has an average life span of 15 to 25 years depending on how much you care for them and maintain them properly. The pet green Iguanas can grow from 6 to 7 feet maximum.
How big do pet Iguanas get?
As mentioned, the green pet Iguanas can grow from 6 to 7 feet in length. The tail will be 2 feet in length. Not including the tail, your pet Iguanas can be 20-24 inches or somewhere up to 5 feet in length. Iguanas can get fat if you overfeed them. Give them only what they want for healthy growth. Use reptile minerals and calcium for your pets.
So, if you are aware of how big do Iguanas grow and are ok to have such a lengthy pet crawling around you in your home, then you can have them as pets. You can also have them as pets and grow them in their specifically designed cages. You need to plan and get the right sized cage for your pet Iguana and not update his/her cage each year!
In short, Iguanas grow a lot.
Do Iguanas Have Any Predators?
While Iguanas do not seem very tasty, although they have some predators or natural enemies. There are many birds of prey that can prey on iguanas, these include eagles and owls. Some large mammals such as foxes may also eat iguanas too. Large fish such as sharks may also feed on the marine species of iguanas. Snakes, such as the boa constrictor also prey on the iguanas. Since Iguanas are a prey animal, most species have some form of spine on their back to serve as extra protection.
Are Iguanas Friendly?
Iguanas are very widely-owned pets thanks to their calm nature and how friendly behaviors with humans. Iguanas use many behavioral cues to interact with humans and their environments: they move the skin of the chin, the tongue, shake the head and use the hiss to communicate, and the owners must learn to read the body language of their iguana in particular. Iguanas are diurnal, that is, they are awake and alert during the day, and rest at night; It is recommended that you stay in a 12-hour cycle of light and dark to ensure that you have adequate exposure to light.
Do Iguanas make Good Pets?
Yes. Green Iguanas make good pets. Many enjoy the company of Green Iguanas, but you must be very responsible for cleaning its cage. You must give them a big cage. You have to feed them every few days once to keep them healthy. You need to be aware that they must be kept warm.Pet Iguanas can be left free to move around the house and roam around as they wish.
But many Iguana owners like to keep them in cages. It is up to you to decide on that. You must know the fact that pet Iguanas also like to hibernate when the temperature drops below 40 degrees. They do not move, and only their heart will pump. You need to call your vet if the above happens when your temperature is normal.Some can surprisingly live up to 30 years too! They must be fed carefully. They are herbivorous and should never be fed with insects or any animals. You can offer them mango, lettuce, banana, cantaloupe. Do not feed them any dry food else they might suffer from kidney problems later.
What Are Other Feeding Tips For Iguanas?
- Iguanas eat several times a day. Being an animal of habit, we must accustom it to a routine (for example breakfast, lunch, and dinner) although it is good to leave a little food in case they were hungry
- We should not only take into account the food that we give them but the temperature of your terrarium and the sun exposure because if we do not do it correctly, it will not help that we feed it well. They must take natural sun often to be able to fix the calcium and equip the terrarium with good illumination. After they eat they need a temperature of 25 or 30 degrees to digest the food well.
- You must realize what foods you like the most, and those that you do not like to discard. You should cut up the food into small pieces and they should be neither too warm or too cold. It is better to give them fresh foods every day
- You must always have clean and fresh water (without it being chilled from the refrigerator) to be able to hydrate properly. Place it in a special container for them (preferable stone and stable) that is very large, where you can go to soak if you want. We will need to change the water constantly because if you go in to bathe it will dirty it. Change their water as often as you change their food, as a general rule of thumb.
- If you saw that the iguana does not eat or has symptoms that do not well do not hesitate to take it to the veterinarian because it may be sick, and better act quickly.
Feeding your iguanas is something that should be done carefully, especially if you want it to live a long and happy life. Hopefully that recommendations that we have shared have answered your questions on what do iguanas eat and how best to feed them. We are sure that if you follow these feeding and care guides for your iguana pet, they will be very happy reptiles.
At first, adopting an iguana seems very difficult because there are lots of responsibilities that are associated with it. But as long as you know what you are doing, you will find this endeavor a simple one and more importantly, you can make your iguana a great companion.
We hope this content answers all your questions regarding your concerns about iguana care as well as ownership.