One of the biggest problems for the increasing number of iguanas raised as pets in captivity is that the terrariums available in the pet stores are too small for them. Iguanas are large reptiles that prefer to spend much of their time in trees, lying down in a horizontal position; therefore tall, narrow enclosures do not work well, and neither do those that are very wide but not high enough to place large branches or resting platforms. The latter placed on a table can give you a feeling of height, but will not give you enough space to climb.
You may have one terrarium and find that your iguana looks good, but she is most likely stressed out and will end up getting sick and dying young. Imagine if you had to live in such a confined space; you could probably do it, but would it be a good life? When you adopt an animal, whether it is traditional or exotic, you have to guarantee the conditions for a healthy life with well-being.
An adult iguana can be between 5 and 8 ft long, and a suitable terrarium should have enough space to allow it to walk, climb, exercise, and rest comfortably. If you want your pet to live and develop well, you need a cage that is at least 12 ft long by 8 ft high by 4 ft deep. As you can see, it is very big and takes up a lot of space in a room, although, if it is well decorated, it can be very interesting.
As we always say, the bigger the terrarium, the better. Also, calculate that the iguanas need a temperature gradient within their enclosure and that their whole body should enter each thermal space. If the terrarium is the same length as the animal’s body, when it needs to be in the warmest zone and place its head there, its tail will necessarily be in the coldest one or vice versa. This is inadequate for correct thermoregulation, as the whole body must be at the same temperature.
It is fine if you do not want to dedicate a whole room or this large space to a cage for an iguana but then think twice before buying one and look for another more suitable pet. If you love reptiles, many others are smaller, between 8 and 20 inches, that can live very happily in a much smaller space and with fewer requirements than an iguana. The smallest and simplest are the gecko leopards, but there are also other excellent options, such as the bearded dragons, the water dragons, or the blue essences.
If you already have an iguana and decide to continue caring for it, make sure you create a suitable enclosure, with large branches for it to climb, resting platforms at different heights, which you can cover with interchangeable pieces of synthetic grass to improve hygiene. You should also create a suitable temperature gradient (by measuring it with thermometers) both horizontally and vertically and ensure a good level of environmental humidity, either by using a hygrometer or spraying the room several times a day. You can also include real plants, but be careful that they are not toxic, as it is very common for iguanas to eat some leaves.
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: