Though iguanas are many types, the green iguanas are the most common pets. Of late, these green iguanas are becoming very popular. Most of the times, people spend lots of time in setting up the enclosures for their pet iguanas but completely ignore the concept of iguana food. There are lots of myths surrounding iguana diet patterns. The advent of the internet has been good in many ways, but it is also quite dangerous because it is used to spread false information as well. When you bring home iguanas as pets, you should be well aware of the iguana food patterns, so that you can treat your pets properly. The following article will help you with some basic information related to this.
What does an iguana eat?
This is the basic question that you have in mind before you consider buying an iguana, isn’t it? To start here is the truth – iguanas are herbivores. They eat only plant products. It is important to feed them on time every day and know the difference between the various kinds of iguana food. They are the following:
- Main food or staple food
- Occasional foods (should be mixed with main foods on certain occasions only)
- Treats (should be given in rare frequency as overfeeding them can cause health issues in iguanas)
- Rare foods (Should be given very rarely or not at all. When given, it should always be mixed with staple foods)
- Enhancer foods (sometimes colour or taste enhancers are introduced to make foods more interesting for the iguanas)
Different types of iguana
Before deciding the Iguana food, you have to be aware of the different types of food that the various varieties of iguana eat. Let us look at some of the common examples of the diet pattern of these iguanas.
Green Iguana Diet
A green iguana diet varies based on the age and length of the animals. For baby iguanas that are just about 14 inches in length, it is very important that you feed them two times every day. The plant material that you feed them should be nicely chopped and crushed so that the babies don’t have any problem in eating them. When iguanas grow slightly bigger (around 3 feet in length and 2.5 years of age), you have to feed them once in a day. While the plant material should still be chopped, it needn’t be crushed to the core. Iguana food for adult pets (that are more than 2.5 years of age and more than 3 feet in length) should be given on alternate days. Plant material can be coarsely chopped or cut into medium pieces.
What should the green iguana food chart consist of?
- Vegetables rich in calcium (around 70%) (greens, parsley, kale, escarole, alfalfa pellets, etc.)
- Different types of weekly vegetables (20%) (broccoli, okra, peas, bell pepper, etc.)
- Natural fibre and grains (around 5%) (cereals, nature
- Fruits (maximum of 10%) (figs, kiwi, papaya, apple, grapes, dates, peaches, etc.)
- Supplements of vitamins and minerals (vitamin and calcium should be in the ratio of 2:1)
Red Iguana Diet
There is no difference between the diet pattern of a red iguana and a green iguana. You might see on the internet that you should not feed spinach to red iguanas. This is not correct. You can include a couple of cups of all types of greens (mustard greens, dandelion greens, turnip greens, etc.) to your iguanas if they are not too small. When the iguana food consists of more than the permissible level of greens, it can result in kidney issues in your pet.
Blue Iguana Diet
When you are planning for iguana food for your blue iguanas, you should give equal importance to the lighting and temperature settings of its enclosure as well. Greens and fruits should form the majority of foods of your blue iguanas. However, these thick and large pets eat well only if the environment is as hot as their origin country, Grand Cayman Islands. Hence, you have to ensure that you install proper lighting and temperature controls in the enclosure of these blue iguanas.
Important points to consider while preparing iguana food
- Iguanas do not chew their food; they swallow it. Hence, it is better that you chop fruits, vegetables and greens finely irrespective of the age of your pets.
- It is not advisable to feed animal proteins and dairy products to iguanas, as they are strict herbivores.
- Clean, hygienic and chlorine-free drinking water is an important part of iguana food. Never compromise on the quality of the same.
- If there are any leftovers of foods in the bowls, ensure that you clean them right away. Iguana foods should always be fresh, clean and healthy.
- Iguana food should be served in the mornings preferably (about an hour after your pets wake up). This way, it helps your pets to digest the foods well before it goes to sleep for the day.
- Ensure that you train iguanas to drink more water every day by enticing it with a piece of treat in the water bowls.
- You have to keep in mind that iguana foods should be of different varieties every day. Your pets would love to eat different meals daily, and you should ensure that you satisfy their requirements without compromising on nutrients, nourishment or hygiene.
- When you are including calcium and other mineral supplements in the staple iguana foods, you should remember that the ratio of calcium to phosphorous should always be 2:1.
Safe iguana foods
- Greens (40% to 45%)
- Vegetables (40% to 45%)
- Fruits (less than 10%)
- All foods based on grains (less than 5%)
- Protein supplements (less than 5%)
Foods that you should not give your iguanas
- Insects, worms and all kinds of animal protein
- Milk, cheese, yogurt and all dairy products
- Dog food, cat food, monkey biscuits and foods meant for other pets
- Chicken, mutton, beef and other kinds of meat
- Any kind of lettuce (occasionally allowed)
- Wild plants and flowers (occasionally allowed)
- Citrus fruits and acidic foods (occasionally allowed)
- Tofu (occasionally allowed)
Recommended iguana foods
Rep –Cal Adult Iguana Food
Here are some of the best features of this iguana food:
- Complete and balanced food loaded with nutrients like plant proteins, fruits and vegetables
- One of the best iguana foods recommended by reptile veterinarians
- Works perfectly for adult iguanas that are more than 12 inches long
- Contains fortified vitamins, minerals, calcium and vitamin D3
- Best iguana food with no artificial, refined or processed foods
- Tried and tested formula for the overall nourishment and development of iguanas
- Contains a mix of strawberry, mango and papaya blends
Zoo Med Natural Iguana Food Formula
If you are looking for a balanced and whole iguana food formula, this is the right choice for you. Here are the features of this food:
- Loaded with vitamins and minerals
- Components decided by PhD nutritionists
- Healthy mix of calcium, fiber, protein and other minerals in the right ratios
- Great for overall health, nutrition and development of juvenile and adult iguanas
- Contains effective plant proteins like Dandelion Greens and Yucca
- Doesn’t have artificial colours or sweeteners
Natural Zone Bites for Iguanas
Looking for iguana foods that are moist and easily digestible? This is the right choice for you. Here are the features of this product.
- Contains isolated proteins, soluble carbohydrates and calcium
- Comes in ready to eat form as it is soft and moist
- Highly recommended by veterinarians for the overall health and nutrition of the iguanas
- Doesn’t have any artificial scent, flavour or colour
- Also contains whey proteins, soy proteins, plant fiber, calcium lactate and water in the right ratios
Zilla Reptile Munchies for Pets
This is one of the most natural iguana foods that are great for animals like iguanas, tortoises and uromastyx. Some of the excellent features of this food are:
- Made from highly nutritious and dehydrated ingredients
- Loaded with calcium to strengthen the bones of iguanas
- Very easy to prepare and doesn’t need refrigeration
- Can be given as standalone diets and also with leafy greens and pellets
- Made from sun-dried carrots, sun-dried bok choy, freeze-dried zucchini, freeze-dried green beans and freeze-dried peas