When you are thinking of getting iguana as pet animals into your house, you should be well aware of the rules and general instructions related to iguana care. Iguanas are of different types, with the most common ones being the green iguana, blue iguana and the red iguana. Out of these, the green iguana is the most commonly chosen type of pet. The basic rules related to care and protection of these pets are the same; however, there may be slight changes required in the types of diet and feeding frequency. An important point that you need to understand is that caring for iguanas is not an easy task. Pet iguana care demands a lot of attention, effort and time from you. It is also quite expensive to maintain an iguana. This article helps you with some of the basic points that you need to keep in mind while caring for your pets.
Cages and supplies
Pet iguanas need a lot of space to move around; hence their cages should be big and spacious. On an average, an iguana cage should be at least 3 feet deep, 6 feet wide and 6 feet tall. You have to follow this size even when you buy a baby iguana because they grow at a tremendous pace. Like most of the other pet animals, iguanas are not very fond of toys. Iguana toys are mostly soft or stuffed animals. However, they don’t get excited about throwing these toys up and playing with them. They like outdoor activities and playing in the water very much.
When you take your iguanas outdoors, you have to use an iguana leash to control them. You can use mobile cages; however, they are very costly and not reliable. An iguana leash, on the other hand, is fit enough for baby and adult iguanas as well. The only hitch here is that not many iguanas may take to leashes pleasantly initially. You need to invest a lot of time and patience in making your pets accept these leashes and enjoy them. This is also an important element of iguana care.
If you are going to buy cage for your iguana, please check out our in-depth guide about Iguana Cages and Supplies.
Green Iguana Care
When you bring home green iguana as pet animals, you should give a lot of focus to the following factors:
- Lighting settings
- Temperature settings
- Cage settings & supplies
- Food & Water
- Getting used to their characteristics
These points are explained below:
An important part of iguana care is to set the proper lighting in the enclosures of the pets. You have to install proper lighting like UVA and UVB lights so that your pets can stay healthy. Natural sunlight is the best source of UVA lights. For the UVB source of lighting, you can get special bulbs from pet stores. Ensure that you change these bulbs frequently (at least once in 9 months) for optimum results.
A pet iguana is used to warm or hot climates; therefore, it is imperative for you to install heat lamps inside the iguana cages. You have to set these in such a way that your pets feel warm and still don’t get overheated. The temperature should be around 95 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and around 75 degrees Fahrenheit during the night hours. It is a great idea to install heat lamps that switch off automatically when night sets in.
Food & Water
Iguanas are strict herbivores; therefore, you should never feed them animal protein and dairy products. You should also take care to feed lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, grains and greens to your pets. You can also give them excellent treats like grapes, strawberries, raspberries, etc. once or twice a week. Irrespective of the food that you give them, ensure that they are rich in two important nutrients – calcium and other minerals. You need to remember that calcium and phosphorous should be in the ratio of 2:1 only, at all times. Iguana foods should contain greens, vitamin and mineral supplements every day.
Water should be clean, hygienic and free from chlorine. You have to ensure that your pet iguana gets a continuous supply of water all the time. It is a good idea to train your pets to drink more water every day. You can do this by putting some pieces of treats in the water bowl. Remember to clean the water every day. Similarly, you have to clean up any leftovers of food in the bowl that has been remaining for over 24 hours.
To read more about Iguana dietary needs read our Iguana Food article for deeper insights.
Getting used to their characteristics
Green iguana care involves understanding about its characteristics and attitude. Your pet iguana is intelligent, smart, friendly, attached and dedicated to its owners. However, they are not very social animals. Never make the mistake of putting more than one iguana in a cage as they can bite each other and can cause deadly injuries.
Blue iguana care
Caring for your pet iguana (blue iguana types) is almost similar to the way you care for green iguanas. There is only one difference between the iguana care given to the two types. Blue iguanas, also known as the Grand Cayman Iguanas have heavier and larger physical attributes than their green counterparts. Hence, they prefer outdoor environments better. You can construct iguana cages outside your homes if you want to keep them healthy and active.
Red Iguana care
When you bring home a red iguana types as pet animals, you should consider an important point. They are semi-aquatic lizards; therefore, they are happy in aquariums that have at least 30 gallons of water. Other facts relating to the food, grooming, cage supplies and light & temperature settings remain the same as the points explained above for green iguanas.
Tips for first time owners for iguanas
Are you bringing home your pet iguana for the first time? Here are some tips for you. When you follow these tips, you will find that iguana care is not as challenging as you imagined it to be:
- Avoid over-handling iguanas when you bring them home as pets for the first time.
- Give them enough space to get acclimatized with their habitats and environment before you start getting too cozy with them.
- Have a list of the some of the good iguana veterinarians in your locality as soon as you bring iguana as pet animals to your home; it is good to be prepared for emergencies, isn’t it?
- Ensure that the iguana cages get enough heat and light; an important part of iguana care sheet is also to check if it has proper humidity levels and hygiene.
- Be aware of the price structure of iguanas; each type belongs to a different cost structure. So, it is important to know the price based on the iguana’s age and height. This way, nobody will exploit you.
Iguana health issues that you need to be aware of
When you bring home a pet iguana, you should be prepared to invest your wholehearted dedication in it. It is important to spot health issues right in the beginning so that you can save your pets from serious medical complications. Here are the some of the usual health problems that your pet iguana would suffer from:
While it is important to install heat lamps in the iguana cages, you should also be careful not to get overboard with the same. When there is more than the required amount of heat in the cages, your pet iguana can suffer from heat burns.
Iguanas love to leap and jump about in their enclosures. So, at times, they hit their bodies against sharp objects, leading to wounds. Minor wounds can be treated with an ointment, but major wounds need to be treated by a professional veterinarian.
Metabolic bone disease
When you don’t expose your pet iguana to proper sunlight or when you don’t include the required amount of calcium in its diet, it can lead to metabolic bone problems. With proper lighting and a proper diet pattern, you can correct this problem easily.
When you notice that your pet iguana is not moving around actively, loses weight quickly or develops wrinkles in its skin, it means that it is suffering from dehydration. An important part of iguana care is to encourage your pets to drink more water on a regular basis by putting attractive treats in the water bowls.
Iguanas love warm climates; so if their enclosures are not hot enough, they suffer from breathing problems. You can correct this by adjusting the temperature settings in the enclosures.
Having a female as your pet iguana? There are chances that you might see her being pregnant but not able to lay eggs. This means she is suffering from an egg-binding problem. When you set up a proper nesting area and include a calcium-rich diet daily, you can ease her problem.
Once you are aware of the above points, it helps you to set up proper habitats for your pet iguana. You can also observe your iguanas carefully to check if they are comfortable or if they are suffering from any ailments. Throughout their lifespan of around 20 years, iguanas require constant attention and time from you; invest in an iguana if you are ready for this long-term commitment.