We have already talked about the right light, temperature and humidity for your reptiles to live and grow healthily. The next step is to provide him with a good terrarium with the necessary accessories.
While your iguana is young, you can keep it in an aquarium or small terrarium, because it will be comfortable there until it grows up. Also while they are small, the green iguanas stay on the ground and not so much in the trees. This gives you some time to plan your final cage. The most common is a wooden enclosure with one or more sides made of chicken wire or transparent synthetic material that allows good visibility. You can also use glass, which is easy to clean and looks nice, but is heavy and fragile when installed. The wire lets the heat escape and if it is not tightened properly it can be deformed, but the iguanas like it because it gives them a good surface to climb on and also allows the terrarium to be ventilated. You should choose the most appropriate material according to the temperature of your house.
Size: as always, the rule of thumb is that the bigger the better. In the case of iguanas, you should bear in mind that they need a lot of vertical space because they spend most of their time climbing on logs or platforms. It is recommended that it is as tall as the length of the iguana (including the tail) or longer, the length should be 1½ the body of the iguana and the width, 2/3 of the length of the iguana. This type of cage can be placed against the wall of a room and does not take up as much floor space. With these measurements, the iguana has room to walk, turn around and climb.
Now it must be given a surface to climb on. You can use thick sloping branches or ramps and some shelves at the end so that it can rest there. Cover them with a carpet of synthetic grass so that it has somewhere to cling to with its nails, taking care that there are no loose threads that can get tangled up in its legs and hurt it. Another practical option that looks good is to wrap the branches or ramps with thick ropes and stick them well so that they cannot come loose and become dangerous. Iguanas usually spend most of their time climbing to these high sites, so you can take advantage of this to locate the heat source there, but be careful to put it out of reach so it can’t burn itself.
Substrate: any substrate that is particulate, such as sawdust, sand or gravel, should be avoided, as they can be ingested and cause intestinal obstructions. You can use any type of clean, uninked paper; it is not attractive but is easily replaced when it gets dirty and is cheap. You can also use synthetic carpets, which look better. One way to keep it clean is to cover the surface with carpet squares, so when one gets dirty, you remove it and replace it with another one while disinfecting the one you removed. You can use bleach (dilute one part for every ten parts of water) taking care to rinse it very well afterward. If your iguana’s cage is very large, you can use wood chips (not pine or cedar, as they can be toxic) on the floor. As the iguanas spend most of their time at altitude they will only come down to defecate and stay a short time above it. In nature, iguanas live on sand without problems, but in captivity, they tend to ingest the substrate material because they are bored and locked up.
Whatever substrate you choose, you must keep it clean and dry. Animals that live in a dirty environment are much more likely to get infected with any small wound on their skin and develop painful abscesses.
If you like them, you can put plants in the terrarium, but your iguana will most likely decide to try them out as part of its diet, just as it would in its natural environment. If you like them, you will cut them down daily until they are dead. You should also make sure that you do not put plants that could be toxic to reptiles. A good option is to use synthetic plants, which will not be dangerous and will adorn the enclosure. Many decorations in pet shops make the terrarium decorative as well as healthy.
Many people let their iguanas walk loose in the house for part of the day. This alternative is good for them to get more exercise and to be entertained in a larger and more varied environment than the terrarium. What you need to take into account is that the whole place where they circulate is at the right temperature and that there are no plants or objects that could be dangerous. Furthermore, iguanas do not usually learn to defecate in a tray, so you may have to clean the room after releasing it. Iguana feces can leave stains that do not come off the fabrics. You must disinfect the place where you have defecated well because if you do not do so, dangerous bacteria can develop. If you like your iguana to walk around loose, you can redecorate the room with some branches so that it can climb up and place a lamp over them to keep it warm. This way you will prevent it from climbing onto the furniture and damaging it with its claws.
Finally, you also need a couple of containers for food and water. They should be strong and heavy so that the iguana cannot tip them over when she climbs onto them. The water container is for drinking and cooling and also helps to keep the humidity of the enclosure high. The iguanas usually take a bath and then defecate in the same water. Check this and clean the container whenever you do.
If after reading this article you have decided to keep an iguana as a pet, here are two more that may interest and help you: