Animal-World’s Featured Pet for this week is: The Green Iguana!
Green Iguanas are a favorite among lizard lovers and they can be fascinating pets. One of my coworkers at the pet store I worked at had a huge iguana whom they named Data after the character in Star Trek! Star Trek names were actually a theme among all of their animals. Their iguana was a big part of their family and had full run of the house! You could always find Data sitting on the back of the couch “watching” tv or slowly wandering from room to room. He was truly an amazing lizard!
Green Iguanas Iguana iguana, are some of the largest lizards to inhabit Central and South America. They can sometimes grow to an enormous 7 feet in length! If well taken care of their lifespan can reach up to 15 years. There are many reasons why these are popular pet lizards. Green iguanas are fairly inexpensive to purchase and are quite hardy. They don’t really smell, especially if their environment is kept clean. Iguanas are also easy to tame and can even be trained to use newspaper as their potty! They do, however, require quite a bit of space and somewhat more intensive care, so you have to be ready and willing to provide that.
These lizards do need their owners to be attentive and dedicated to their care and feeding for them to thrive. They do have some special needs. For instance, their environment must be kept at a temperature of 85-90 degrees Fahrenheit during the day in order for them to digest their food properly and maximally extract out the nutrients. Their diet needs also change as they grow and this should be accomodated. As juveniles they should be provided with fruits and vegetables as well as protein sources such as crickets and mealworms. However once they get larger they really only need to be fed a vegetarian diet. This includes romaine lettuce and many bright orange and green vegetables. All domestic iguanas should also be offered a supplement – typically Calcium and Phosphorus supplement with a ratio of two to one. They should be fed at least three times a week and have access to daily fresh water for both drinking and bathing.
Housing your iguana is another concern that should be taken seriously. Once they are full-grown green iguanas will be most comfortable in a home that is around 100 gallons or 5’x5’x3′. They can be kept in smaller environments while young but be prepared to upgrade in size. They also love to climb and so should be provided with at least one, if not more, limb to scale. As mentioned before, their environment should be kept between 85 and 90 degrees during the day. At night it should be kept from 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. They should be provided with a heat lamp or another source of heating.
If you wish to tame your iguana, start out by handling him at least once per day for about an hour and rub the top of his head. Over time this will help your iguana become more familiar with you and no longer try to bite you or whip its tail (a sign of aggression).
Iguana health problems most often arise when they are not provided with the right environment or fed the proper foods. Problems can include mouth rot, parasites, vitamin deficiencies and respiratory disease from drafts and too-cool temperatures. Just follow the proper care guidelines and most of these problems will not arise.
Read more about these iguanas in general and in more detail on Animal-World’s Green Iguana page!
Jasmine is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.