Native to the jungles of South and Central America and in the Caribbean, iguanas are one of the most favorite and beautiful reptiles to be taken home as pets.
Even though harmless when they’re taken home, iguanas tend to be quite aggressive as they become comfortable in their new home.
Iguana Behavior: Do Iguanas Bite And Why?
Of course, they do!
Almost any animals will bite under particular circumstances and those lovable iguanas are no exception. Although they look like these tiny dinosaurs, iguanas are not aggressive in general. But, when provoked or during mating season, they tend to lash out with those serrated teeth.
Similar to crocodiles, iguanas have powerful jaws designed to tear instead of chewing, clamping and holding down. Trying to remove the bite or pushing them away can only make them bite harder and turn the simple punctures to something more serious.
Types of Iguana Bites
Iguanas typically examine when they see or smell something new. They stick their tongue out and make a small bite to see if that something responds.
This usually happens when hand feeding your iguanas. There are no serious injuries associated with this bite since it is not intended to attack you in a hostile environment.
When trying to tame an iguana you just bought home, it may wag is tail and try to bite you, all because it is scared. The strength of this kind of bite is not that harmful nor something for you to worry about.
This kind of bite is something that lasts or goes on for a long time. Generally not harmful, this bite typically eases out over time.
After some time, your iguana should release its bite. However, if you try to pull away, it can become more aggressive and bite even harder.
You can handle this by placing an alcohol swab under its nose or dripping it into its mouth. In case it is holding and biting on your clothes, slowly remove it in order not to hurt its teeth.
Like any animal, territory domination is quite important for iguanas. And putting 2 or more male iguanas in one enclosure is a bad idea since territory-related attacks will occur.
When the territorial aggression is shown, it is best that you leave it alone for a while until the behavior eases. Otherwise, it may see you as an outsider, attacking and biting you down when confronted.
The Mating Season Bites
Male iguanas during the breeding season tend to be overly aggressive and impossible to control. They may chase you around the house and even bite you hard just to remove you from their territory.
Ale iguanas also sense hormonal changes in human females that make them even loonier. So, when the mating season is approaching, make sure to never remove your iguanas out of its cage and refrain from petting it.
The Disease Risk of Iguana Bites
More than just painful, iguana bites may result in various health problems. Because these animals tend to leave their teeth embedded in your skin, infection or tetanus may happen even is the smallest injuries are treated incorrectly.
In addition, iguanas also carry several Gram-negative bacteria in their mouths and Salmonella in their intestines that can be transferred to humans when they bite. Most of these organisms are also resistant to various antibiotics. So you will need to get professional medical treatment when bitten by an iguana to prevent further health problems.
Preventing Iguana Bites: What To Do?
It is obvious that scratches and bites are not a pleasant part of your socializing with your newfound reptile friend.
To protect yourself, you need to wear gloves in order to prevent injuries, particularly if the reptile is not tamed yet.
Also, you need to watch out for several signs when your iguana is about to bite, so you can immediately stay away from it. Stressed iguanas tend to hiss, coil and stiffen their bodies, extend the fold of their loose skin under the head or twitching their tails from side to side.
When your iguana is exhibiting these signals, immediately move away and avoid it to prevent bites.
Iguana Skin: Why Does Iguana Change Color?
Unlike chameleons, iguanas don’t change their color intensively. But reliant on the health, time, environment, and mood iguanas may possibly change colors.
A green iguana tends to become darker with its age, while yellow-green, red, and blue iguana morphs obtain their bright coloring more noticeable with age.
Iguanas may be changing their colors when they’re shedding, stressed, and sick and when they feel hot or cold. On the other hand, changing skin colors will help them perform or dominate bodily functions more efficiently.
Iguana Mouth: Why Iguana Mouth Open (Gaping)?
The reason why iguanas tend to open their mouth is that they want to show what they feel. As a matter of fact, an open mouth may be an indication that your iguana is too hot and he/she needs to be transferred to a cooler place.
A somewhat open mouth, on the other hand, could be an indication of curiosity. In addition, it means that your iguana is disappointed.
Iguana Eyes: Is It Good When Iguanas Close Their Eyes?
If your iguana closed their eyes you don’t have to worry. Because iguanas converse with their eyes closed.
However, when the eye that is close to you is closed but the other one is open, actually, it is a kind of compliment. Meaning to say, your iguana is comfortable being with you, but he/she is observing what is going on around.
When both eyes are closed, it is their way to shut out everything and lessen the stimuli. Nevertheless, closed eyes can exhibit a sign of relaxation as well as happiness.
Iguana Head:What Does It Mean When Iguanas Wag Their Heads?
When your iguana wags his/her head it does not mean that you are dealing with a weird pet. Actually, this means that your iguana is sending a message.
Usually, head wagging could be a self-assured behavior. Basically, it is an expression of territoriality and dominance.
Fully grown and physically mature male iguanas are partial to such wagging actions. But the female ones do their share of defensive head wagging as well.
Furthermore, when an iguana wags his head, it means that he is not in the mood to engage with anybody else.
Iguana Tail: Does An Iguana Tail Whip Hurt?
In the actual fact, iguanas used their tails as a defense for defense. That is why if your iguana is scared he/she usually whip his/her tail which can be painful.
As a matter of fact, it can be very dangerous as well since their tails slices deeply.
Read more: Iguana Care