Why it is important to know everything about iguanas before purchasing this reptile
Why these reptiles deserve respect
Iguanas are tropical reptiles and can live up to 20 years or more in the wild. They also can live that long in captivity if they are cared for properly. We have decided to domesticate them but so many know little about them to be successful at keeping them.
Many iguana owners, when they first purchase them as iglets or babies think oh it's just a lizzard how hard can they be to take care of. Well honestly they are very complex creatures to take care of.
My husband and I rescued two cruely treated iguanas but I had done enough research on them before obtaining them that I knew they had a better chance at life with us then living in a small tank with 30 other babies climbing over top of them fighting for food and light.
Most iguanas are born with parasites which serve them well in the wild but not in captivity. So they have to be treated. They grow to be about six feet in length and can get up to 18 pounds. No small acquarium can properly hold these animals because under the right conditions they grow at a rapid speed and don't reach full maturity until about three years old.
They need a big cage about four feet wide by six feet tall. Lights for heat and lights to bask in. No heater rocks or any other kind of hot surfaces to lay on because they can not thermo regulate or know they are being burned.
Other problems that occur with these reptiles is that female iguanas will develop eggs starting at two years old whether they have mated or not. The process can be very stressful for a female iguana because they become anorexic, lose weight and can become very dehydrated.
This is considered a gravid female. Our female iguana did become gravid and was unable to lay her eggs so she is now having surgery to remove the eggs and get spayed.
Iguanas need vet care as any other animals. Because of their complex nature they can develop metabolic bone disease which is dangerous to the animal and can cause many problems. Signs of MBD are the iguana is not eating, not moving, looking depressed and I can't urge anyone enough to take your iguana to the vet if you are having any issues. Iguanas need a large amount of calcium in order to live comfortably. Our iguanas are supplemented with prescription calcium syrup given by the vet according to their weight.
Male iguanas can also have prolapsed hemipenis which is their male organs to protrude through their colacea area at the base of the tail. This is dangerous and needs surgical intervention to prevent the exposed area from dieing.
Iguanas are strictly herbivores or vegitarians unlike people think that want to give them crickets or meal worms. They do not live off of animal proteins like bearded dragons do. Their diet should consist of collard greens, turnip greens, kale, mango's and other vegetables as listed on the green iguana society.
On a daily basis these beautiful creatures are being imported by the thousands to many reptile stores and pet stores across the country. It is imperitive that if you want to buy an iguana that you know everything about them before you purchase them and have the right set up for them before you bring them home.
Taming issues can also be a problem. They are not the lovey dovey curl up next to you animal when you first get them. Especially if they are babies. All they see is a big hand coming at them and their only defense is to run. Anything bigger then them, they think they will be eaten.
Get educated before getting this beautiful creature. They are very loving tameable creatures if you treat them right.
I saw a large iguana in the reptile store whos owner thought it was a nice idea to cut part of its toes off so that the iguana could not scratch them. Yes they have razor sharp nails but they have to be manicured and trimmed. It is their only way to climb.
I love my iguanas but yet feel sad that people breed these animals for pets when half the owners that get them don't know how to take care of them.
1) know what you are doing before you purchase one
2) find a reptile vet that knows about iguanas because some don't
3) build a big enough cage before you get them with the correct lighting, branches to lay on and enough humidity because these animals rarely drink water. That is why it is important to spray their food and cages with water daily so that they can have water.
4) learn to examine their feces and urites to check for anything unusual.
5) you know they are going to get big so be prepared or leave them at the pet store.
6) if you want an iguana then take good care of it.
Binky with her eggs removed
Female iguanas produce eggs every year starting at their second year of life. It doesn't matter if they are fertilized or not. Iguanas can be spade just like any other animal and that is what we did with Binky. She would have kept producing eggs and they can't lay them. The husbandry of these animals is never quite like out in the wild so that they can lay properly. If the eggs burst inside the iguana, then it will poison their system and will kill them.
Iguanas can be spoiled.
Unlike people think, Iguanas are very smart reptiles. They will show their wild side when they don't get what they are used to getting. Binky will throw her food all over her house when she is not pleased. Yes even reptiles can show bad behavior when they are upset.
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