Basic Iguana Care

Written by Lee Wyatt (last updated November 26, 2013)

Iguanas are an extremely popular, and often under cared for, pet among the households of the United States. In many ways people have the mistaken perception that iguanas, as cold blooded lizards, aren't very active, and therefore don't require a lot of hands on care. Learning proper basic iguana care can go a long way to helping ensure that your soon to be pet, or new pet, doesn't accidentally get sick and die.

  • Create a comfy home. Contrary to what many people may think, iguanas really do like to climb, and have plenty of space to stretch their legs. This means that you can't do what you see so often in the movies on and television, and that is to get an aquarium to use as the home. It is simply too small. A proper home for an adult iguana needs to be at least three feet deep, by six feet long, by six feet high. It's not exactly a small home. Inside this home you should also provide plenty of climbing apparatus (such as tree limbs) for the miniature Godzilla.
  • Iguanas' love the sun. Iguanas don't just love the sun, they actually need to absorb UV light from the sun to live properly. The UV light helps the iguana to properly digest their food, provides vitamin D, and also allows them to feel happy and that all is good with life. If you can't place your pet iguana in a location where they will be able to receive at least eight hours of sunlight a day, then you will need to get a UV fluorescent lights to provide the light for your friend.
  • Warmer is better. Iguanas are native to the warmer climates of Central and South America, and as such are not really used to the lower temperatures found in most of the United States. As such, you will need to provide a heat lamp, or similar source of heat to help keep your iguana warm. The minimum average temperature that the enclosure needs to have during the day time is between 80 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. During the nighttime, the temperatures should never be below 75 degrees Fahrenheit. If you have the money, one way to help ensure this is to create a heated floor the same way that some people have heated flooring in their homes.
  • Feed them properly. Another surprising element of iguana life is that they are not (desire appearances) carnivores. Rather, they are vegetarians that prefer to eat dark leafy greens. These foods ill include things like collard and mustard greens, alfalfa, watercress, and dandelions. Mix things up a bit by also including some fruits and other vegetables, such as snap peas, parsnip, papayas, okra, mango, green beans, and so on. Be sure that there is a constant source of fresh water so that the iguana doesn't dehydrate.
  • Keep it single. Iguanas are territorial, and as such do not really get along well with others in their enclosures. This means that if you are going to have a pet iguana, make sure that you only keep one in the enclosure at a time. Otherwise they could end up fighting, hurting, or possibly killing one another.
  • Visit a vet regularly. Iguanas can also be subject to some rather interesting diseases if you are not careful. One example of this includes a fungal infection which can make the scales of your iguana not work properly, and thereby make your pet sick. Periodic, and regular, visits to your veterinarian will go a long way in helping to prevent any illness from afflicting your pet.

Author Bio

Lee Wyatt

Contributor of numerous Tips.Net articles, Lee Wyatt is quickly becoming a regular "Jack of all trades." He is currently an independent contractor specializing in writing and editing. Contact him today for all of your writing and editing needs! Click here to contact. ...


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