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How to take care an Iguana

Iguana con tonos anaranjados

For the care of domestic iguana in our home, we should keep certain elements in mind when transporting, feeding, and caring for our iguana at home.

My Pet Iguana’s Terrarium

This will be the habitat we will have at home for our iguana to spend most of its time, to sleep, reproduce if necessary, lay eggs, and feed.

You can let it out regularly but it is mainly a stationary animal with little mobility.

The terrarium should have a capacity of at least 80 gallons, preferably in an upright position, unlike the snake terrarium which is arranged horizontally.

The size of the Iguana’s terrarium

The desired size should be 48 x 24 x 24 (LXDxH) inches, but being a baby you can start with a 24 x 18 x 24 inches terrarium, but keep in mind that they have fast-growth, so this one will not serve you for long.


Terrario de una iguana domestica

This is to be able to introduce a trunk inside it so that the animal can climb, develop naturally, and feel at home.

As your animal grows, you should increase the size of the litter box, this to avoid the bad position or mobility of the iguana and the adequacy of a larger trunk.

The initial cost of the terrarium can be around $250.

Keep in mind that the ideal size would be twice the size of your pet iguana, but still avoid using metal mesh, as these animals have a habit of climbing, and these elements can hurt their fingers when trying to climb up the mesh.

Terrarium Temperature

As cold-blooded animals from tropical climates, temperature and humidity control are essential for their natural development and organic functions.

The temperature inside their adequate habitat must oscillate between 75.2°F and 86°F taking into account if it is day or night if it is winter or summer.

If the temperature falls below 75.2°F your pet could catch a cold, become ill, and, depending on your care, could be at risk of death.

For this, you must have the following items and their corresponding spare parts in case of a broken heating source.

Iguana’s terrarium accessories

  1. A source of UVB light can be supplied through a fluorescent bulb.
  2. Heating lamps, a white one for the day to maintain the correct temperature inside the terrarium and a red one for the night, so that it does not disturb the iguana’s sleep and also maintains the temperature, lamps such as infrared lamps.
  3. An under tank heater is a good choice to keep the temperature gradient in larges terrariums. they only need to occupy at most one-third of the floor space of the habitat.
  4. Terrarium decoration such as trunk, stones, sand, drinking and feeding troughs, non-toxic plants.
  5. Thermometers, Hygrometers, and a thermostat to correctly control the temperature inside the terrarium, both in the cold zones of the terrarium and in the hot zones, and to control the temperatures during the day and at night. Correct temperature management is fundamental for the life of the animal, its correct development, and the absence of disease.
pet iguana

Habitat lighting

This type of species requires a certain source of ultraviolet light, since being cold-blooded, without this source, they do not assimilate calcium correctly. You should buy a light specially designed for iguanas and reptiles reference 5.0.

Fluorescent bulbs should be changed regularly every six months to once a year since they lose their luminosity as the months go by, so our iguana can be diminished in its absorption of calcium and deformed, even breaking its bones.

This problem is more latent as it ages and increases in weight and size. If they are not given adequate radiation, their bones can be affected and they will suffer a young death.

However, whenever you can, allow the Iguana to take in natural sunlight, weather permitting, keep in mind that artificial lighting is equally important as window glass in your home can limit the absorption of UV rays.

Humidity Control

Your pet iguana requires high humidity levels, typical of tropical rainforests. The humidity of the enclosure should be approximately 75%, without exceeding this as this excess can also lead to disease.

One of the problems with iguanas in captivity is that they are naturally unfamiliar with drinking a lot of water since they get the nutrients they need directly from the natural environment, but in an artificial environment they do need to drink a lot of liquid.

One of the options for maintaining humidity in the enclosure is to use artificial humidifiers, which although they can be expensive, make the job much easier.

Other more economical options are to have several tubs of water inside the terrarium, as well as water sprinklers that release a certain amount of water in the form of a spray several times a day.

Don’t forget a very important recommendation, bathe your iguana every day, this will not only keep it fresh but also protect it from infections and bacteria and we don’t want it to get sick.

Extra tips for the caring of a Green Iguana

As terrarium conditioning, you can use moss, dried tree bark, artificial grass. Do not use cat litter for the habitat soil and make sure that this soil is at least 12 cm deep, as our iguana has the nature to dig and prepare nests regularly.

Pet gree Iguana

Food and Diet

We already have the terrarium, we already have our beautiful green iguana, now how do we feed it? From the tent to her mouth.

They are mainly herbivorous animals, in captivity, we must feed them mainly 75% of vegetables and only 25% of fruits. If we feed them insects or meat we run the risk of making them sick, leading to malnutrition and intoxication.

Some of the recommended vegetables for green iguanas are:

Dangerous foods for iguanas

If you don’t want to run to the vet, make your animal sick or cause it to die a distressing death, you shouldn’t feed it the following foods:

If you do not follow these recommendations, you could accidentally cause diseases such as hypocalcemia.

Having a healthy iguana

Iguana on trunk with orange shades

Iguanas rarely get sick in their natural state, so if they do get sick under our care, it is due to poor management of their artificial environment or neglect of their lighting, temperature, feeding, and care needs on our part.

The main cause of illness of our iguana at home is the lack of humidity, which will cause respiratory problems. Keep in mind that excess humidity is also a risk factor.

Another is the burning of the skin due to the excessive use of UV lamps, because of the poor arrangement of these, as you place them too close to the trunk of the iguana inside the terrarium or because they are of an inadequate intensity for the age of your specimen.

Temperature changes in the Iguana’s health

Let’s avoid sudden temperature changes. Also, the lack of exercise, to allow him to climb or walk in other parts of the house or of the patio of our house, will weaken his muscles and as he grows and gets fat, he can suffer from falls and with the blows come the fractures, many eyes with this.

Stress

Our iguana can become stressed, to the point where it can lose its life. You will notice that it is in this state because of changes in skin color, with a dull brown, gray, and even black tones. Some of the causes are poor nutrition, not because of quantity, but because of foods that are deficient in their needs for nutrients and vitamin supplements.

Another stress factor is poor terrarium conditions, such as little space, poor or excessive lighting, another specimen sharing the same space, poor ventilation, as if it were in a small prison with poor living conditions. In addition to disturbing noises, poor lighting at night, and the presence of other threatening animals such as aggressive dogs.

Iguana Ticks

The ticks that our iguana may have on its skin can be removed with tweezers. Keep in mind that once all the ticks have been removed and eliminated, they will not reappear since they were contracted from their place of origin and are not typical of a foreign environment.

The importance of eliminating these ticks is to avoid their multiplication.

We can bathe the iguana with warm water, a brush, and specialized products for the elimination of ticks. You should also disinfect the terrarium and its elements, but without using toxic products but they can harm the life of your pet.

Skin Inflammations

If you see inflammations, suppurations on the skin and in the mouth, dryness, changes in the habits of your iguana, it is advisable to take it to veterinary consultation, these are symptoms that something is not right and requires care and medical attention.

Keep in mind that any animal living in captivity can be exposed to unnatural conditions that can lead to diseases that would not occur in a natural state, due to artificial light and temperature controls that can fail at any time.

Causes of death in captivity

iguana sleeping on a branch

Its death is carried out because stress comes the weakening of the immune system, which makes her vulnerable to pathogens, infections, and bacteria present in the environment. If you detect any of these symptoms, you should take her to the vet.

Taking our iguana to the Veterinary

green iguana with penetrating gaze

Regularly, just like humans, and in normal health, iguanas should be taken to annual infection and disease check-ups with a certified veterinarian.

Please note that because they are a less commercialized species than dogs and cats or hamsters, a veterinarian may charge a higher price for consultation or medication for your iguana as they are not commercially distributed.

You must identify accessible veterinarians in your area and if possible ask them before having them present if they have experience or knowledge in the medical care and treatment of these types of reptiles.