How to Succeed with Your New Green Iguana               
Knowledge that we have accrued over time

 
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Misc Lizards 6
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Misc Lizards 10


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Decorating
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Miscellaneous
Bob's Acclimation

How to Start
How to Add New Fish
How to Keep Healthy
Which Fish Get Along?
10 Questions to Ask
What is Ich?
Under Gravel Filters

Sponge Filters
Cloudy Water

Cool Water Tanks
Gravel Vacuums
Preventing Disease
Feeding to the Max
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Nasty Chemicals
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Quarantine Tank
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2nd Av Bait

Pet World Visit
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Java Moss
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Onion
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Watersprite

Different Watersprite

Green Iguana Factoids

Origin

El Salvador iguana farms.

Sexual Differences

Males larger, more aggressive, more colorful
Breeding Not likely in small quarters

Temperature

85F preferred
Lighting Full-spectrum fluorescent bulb

Attitude

Mistrustful at first.  Adapts to captivity.

Biggest Threat

Low temps.  Inadequate light and diet.

Schedule

Diurnal

Security

Likes to climb

Size

4 to 6 feet

Foods

Vegetation

Water

Provide a large water bowl

LA
New iguanas try to get as far way from you as possible.

LA
Young teenager climbing up a local rock.  Iguanas love to climb ...

LA Pic
... right up to the top of your head.

LA
Every iguana wants to live on top.

Housing.  Iguanas start small but get BIG – four to six feet long – two-thirds of it tail.  They need more room than most lizards.  They also like to climb – like a squirrel.  They need lots of room – twice as long a cage as they measure in length – plus sturdy branches to clamber up.  Iguanas like to look down on you if possible.

Cage Floor.  Artificial carpet makes a nice iguana cage floor.  Clean it at least weekly.  Aquariums with tight tops make poor long-term cages for iguanas.  They need more room and better air circulation.  A screen top cover works quite well.

LA
Reptarium cages increase climbing areas at least 4X -- but hard to heat for iguanas.

 

Temperature.  Green iguanas need a minimum 85o to digest their food.  Hotter won’t hurt.  Heat also makes them more active.  Provide the heat with overhead heat lamps, under cage heaters, extra room heat, sunlight or all of the above.  Even an aquarium heater in a large (untippable) jar generates a lot of heat.  Just make sure your iguana gets a minimum of 85o for 12 hours every day.  Most iguanas enjoy loafing in a sunny spot.  They really like love the heat.

LA
Big water bowls provide drinking water, swimming facilities, and the humidity iguanas like.

Water.  Every animal needs clean, fresh water every day.  Iguanas want lots more.  In addition to frequent mistings, they want a swimming pool.  We find that cat litter pans make excellent and economical pools for iguanas up to three feet long.  If your cage provides too little room for a swimming pool, use your bath tub every so often.  Because of Salmonella, this is really not a good ideaAlways check the temperature first.  Never put any lizards in hot water, unless you intend to eat them.

Climbing Facilities.  Iguanas live in trees.  The adults spend nearly all their time hiding in and eating trees.  Smaller iguanas spend more time at the lower levels.  All iguanas like to climb.  Their toes and toe nails are specially built for climbing.

Note:  Your iguana will climb your curtains as well as any cat.  And if you take him outside for a sunning, keep him away from large trees or take a 90-foot extension ladder with you.  Iguanas can climb much better and much faster than you.  Even “tame” iguanas climb too fast to catch.

LA
After eating, he'll spend the bulk of his time basking (loafing as he digests his food).

Lighting.  Iguanas love to bask (loaf in the sunlight).  They will climb as close to your light source as possible.  They will wrap around a light bulb and fry their bellies.  They get heat and Vitamin D3 from sunlight.  Green iguanas are true sun worshippers and try to get as close to the sun source (high) as possible.

Vitamin D3.  Like us, iguanas need Vitamin D3 to assimilate calcium and deposit it into their bones.  When kept in full sun or under  full-spectrum fluorescent light bulbs, they generate their own.  However, many iguanas need extra Vitamin D3.  Sprinkle it on their food occasionally, spray it on them or their food, or feed it to them with an eyedropper.  Most acclimated iguanas drink vitamin supplements eagerly.  They like the taste.

LA
Grated carrots make an excellent change of pace.  Iguanas bounce off whole carrots.

LA
As we say, Iguanas will try anything.

LA
Better choice this time.  We don't recommend bananas.

LA
Romaine lettuce -- a green iguana favorite.

Food and Feeding.  Green iguanas eat almost anything – lots of it.  A healthy iguana stuffs himself at mealtimes.  When you feel his belly, it feels full.  They like most fruits.  Leaf lettuce rates high on their menu.  But they need more nutrition than that.

Most Nutritious Iguana Menu Items

Frozen commercial iguana foods
Canned commercial iguana foods
Pelleted commercial iguana foods

Favorites

Romaine and other leaf lettuces

Pre-packaged coleslaw mix

Pears – slice and dice

Grated carrots

Apple sauce – for the young ones

Baby foods – for the young ones

Sweet potato vines

 

LA
What is this strange new food?

 

LA
Maybe a "taste" couldn't hurt.

 

LA
Then they all join in.

 

LA
Make sure you shred it first.

 

LA
Once they key in on their food dish, they try anything you feed them.

For Variety

Whipped egg – microwave 1 minute

Sliced kiwi fruit

Watermelon – from your fingers

Strawberries, ditto

Frozen peas – thawed

Frozen broccoli – thawed

Sweet potatoes – canned, micro waved, or grated

Dandelion flowers and greens

Pumpkin blossoms

Tomatoes

Mixed frozen vegetables

Cut up boiled squash

Cucumbers – slice and dice

Zucchini ditto

Emergency Food.  Before the special iguana foods hit the market, we found dry dog food soaked in water makes a surprisingly fine occasional supplement.  We soaked it in water for 15 minutes or added water and micro waved  it till it softened.  Dog food contains most of the nutrition they need.  Most references warn against feeding too much dog food.  Don’t exceed 5-10% of their diet or you could blow out their little kidneys prematurely.  But on an occasional basis?  Why not?

Supplements.  Add calcium to their diet.  Use a powdered calcium/vitamin supplement.  Iguana bones grow very rapidly, so they need lots of calcium in their diet.  Once they start eating prepared iguana foods, they get all the calcium they need.

Prevent Diseases.  Iguanas tend to suffer from calcium deficiency, malnutrition, cysts, mites, and ticks.  Prevention works best for most of these.  Prevent calcium deficiency by feeding the right foods.  Prevent malnutrition by feeding enough food and a variety of foods.  Don’t let your iguana pick his own food.  Who’s in charge.  You or your lizard?  Healthy, warm iguanas eat surprisingly large amounts.  If they get cold, they cannot digest their food.  They have to eat less.  They thrive in the hottest weather.

Small Hitchhikers.  Most iguanas come to us from iguana farms.  They rarely carry external parasites.  But if you don’t keep their cage clean, you’ll see little “cooties” on them called mites.  No problem.  Spray with a miticide to eradicate mites.  Or rub them with mineral oil to smother the cooties.  Towel dry and return to their cleaned cage.  And clean the cage more often.

Larger Hitchhikers.  Wild-caught iguanas and those mixed with wild-caught iguanas can carry ticks.  Again no problem.  Carefully pull out the ticks or use a lizard-type tick killer product.  Follow the directions carefully.

Know Your Vet.   Protect your investment by working with a knowledgeable vet.  Find your vet before problems develop – not after.  Work with a vet that knows iguanas.  You don’t want one learning on your iguana.  We like Rick Harmon.

LA
Once you get these sharp tips off, your iguana mellows out.  You will, too.

LA
Somebody needs smacked for letting these claws grow this long.  He's also missing toes.

 

Wild-Caught Iguanas.  Most iguanas hand tame fairly quickly.  Wild caught specimens take extra time.  Big iguanas possess sharp back toe-nails that can scratch you pretty good when they try to escape.  If your iguana scratches you, take the sharp tips off his toe nails with a finger nail clipper or iguana toe-nail clipper.  Wrap him with a thick towel and work on one foot at a time.  Keep his head covered.  The toe-clipping process calms them right down.

LA
Big guys can give you a nasty slap.  And they're fast.

Watch those Tails.  Most iguanas, use their whip-like tails very effectively as a weapon.  It stings your arms but really hurts your face.  Wild iguanas often snap their tails directly at your eyes.  Occasionally someone gets bitten by an iguana, but very rarely.  However, always handle large lizards with care.  Move slowly if possible and treat them gently – especially “new ones.”  You may want to use gloves at first.  And never pick up your ig by the tail.  It comes right off.

LA
Iguanas eat them, but. we do not recommend bananas.

Farm-Raised Iguanas.  Once your iguana gets used to you, expect him to mellow out a lot.  He’ll eat from your hand and allow you to hold him without slashing your wrists or whupping on your face.  Also, he slows down a lot when removed from his heat source.  He’ll never cuddle up to you and purr like a kitten with a full tummy, but most igs quickly calm down and make a nice pet.

Early Care.  Most small iguanas (really hatchlings) dehydrate rapidly.  Soak them in a large container of tepid water.  Leave them alone for the day – high up – with some leafy lettuce.  Teenagers (over 14 inches) adjust to new surroundings much more quickly but still like a good soaking.  Big iguanas (wild or farm-raised) love a good soak, too, but take more room.  If you get an iguana of any size, know its needs before you take it home!  A little advance knowledge prevents most problems.

LA
When you see iguanas kept like this, you especially better wash your hands.

LA
This is what those cute little guys grow into.

Wash Your Hands.  Most iguanas carry salmonella bacteria.  Wash your hands after handling your iguana or any other pet.  LA.

Kristin Edwards, March 31, 2009
Dear Aqua Land,
I was very diturbed when I visited your website today (march 31, 2009) I own 2 Green Iguanas of my own and I have done years worth of research and my own personal experiences with reptile. The majority of information that you have posted on your website is incorrect and can possibly kill any Iguana who's owner has taken the advice from you page. For example:
You mention about lighting with an iguana, but nothing is specific. Anyone who does not know anything about a reptile and who is a first time owner could take the fact that you say florecent lightbulb or "when kept in full sun" as gospil, while yes you could use a normal florecent lightbulb, but there are specific bulbs made for reptile that carry a specific ammount of UVA and UVB rays which any reptile needs. Although for an Iguana you want to buy a Tropical 5.0 UVB lightbulb. Also, to inform you, the problem with throwing and iguana in a cage in from of full sunlight, mostlikely in the house in front of a window, because the common owner of an iguana doesnt always have outside inclosures, The influx of heat infront of a window can cause serious problems, especially if the entire cage is infront of the window. furthermore light filtered from a window doesnt provide the correct UVB and UVA rays party because most windows today are made with special protections against those exact things.
 When you state what food should be fed to the Iguanas you mention nothing specific, for example:
 Romaine lettuce and other leaf lettuce_(to be specific romaine lettuce is not a staple food, and iceburg lettuce has no nutrition other than water. The correct leaf diet for an Iguana is: Collard Greens, Mustard Greens, Turnip Greens, Kale, escarole, endive, water cress, Chard(occasional), Dandelion, dandelion greens. this should be what you have under leaf greens. And possibly even more than what I have told you.
Pre-packaged coleslaw mix_(coleslaw has more than just vegtables in it, that are UNHEALTHY for an Iguana
Gratted carrots_(carrots are a occasional treat, just like humans iguanas should not eat it everyday.
Apple sauce_(again applesauce can have certain chemicals in it that can harm the iguanas sytem
Baby foods_(when you say baby foods be specific, such as peach strawberry, BUT STEER CLEAR OF MEAT!!!! personally if you feed a healthy diet of pellet diet with a days meal of proper veggies you dont need to feed human made food.
WHIPPED EGG_( NEVER EVER FEED ANY TYPE OF ANIMAL PROTEIN TO AN ANIMAL WHO IS VEGITARIAN, IT CAN CAUSE LIVER AND KIDNEY FAILURE)
I was also angered by the pictures of the Iguanas on your website the majority looke extremely malnurished and sick.

LA

A:  First off, I recognize your concern for iguanas.  However, you seem to be looking for anything you can find to argue about.  Rather than refute your comments, I'm printing them in my Q&As  and adding them to one of my several iguana pages.  LA
PS 
Next time take a minute or two to run SpellCheck.

Elizabeth Hodgin, Lee, CA, November 20, 2009
To whom it may concern: What is the proper way of picking up an iguana? 

A:  Small iguana, calmly slide one hand under his abdomen and lift.
Calm large iguana, ditto.
Non-calm large iguana, calmly slide one hand under his abdomen while securing his back legs and whipping tail with the other hand.
If clipping toenails, secure everything with a large towel first.  LA

More Info?  Go to Iguana Dragons

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