Iguana Questions & Answers II

 
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Watersprite

Different Watersprite

LA
You'll find many, many types of very nutritious foods for your iguana

1.          How do you convince an iguana to eat pelleted foods? 

You know, and I know, that iguanas prefer leaves and all kinds of green leafy veggies (especially Romaine lettuce).  So if you give him a choice, he will choose the Romaine lettuce.

LA 
Iguanas will always eat Romaine lettuce.

Don’t give him a choice.  Based on the weird diets invented by some of the weird  iguana people I’ve talked to, healthy iguanas will eat anything you put in front of them.  (Notice how they “tongue” every new surface they encounter?  Including you?)

The new pelleted foods make the switch easy.  They look good.  They smell great.  (We’re still waiting to take the personal taste test.)  Most iguanas will jump on the new pelleted foods immediately.

Start by putting pelleted food (nothing else) in his feeding dish the next time   -- not after he’s stuffed himself with Romaine lettuce.  The next day,  take out the feeding dish and let him get hungry first.  No animal (except Eric) needs access to food 24 hours a day.

2.      What’s a good way to leash an iguana?

Iguanas like a little sunlight.  But are you tired of running after your iguana?  Try this shoe-saving idea.

Harness him up the same as always, then attach him to your fishing pole line.  Use a heavy (10 to 20# test line) and a snap-on leader.  This makes it easy to hook and unhook him.

Then let him run through the grass like a wild animal.  I’d still keep him out of trees.  You’ll really hate to pull a large iguana out of a tree and try to cushion his fall.  He’ll come down out of the tree with all claws a-flashing -- if he comes down at all.

 

3.      How do you trim an iguana’s toenails?

When you pick up a big iguana that does not want to be picked up, he lets you know his feelings immediately.

He thrashes his tail and tries to run.  Naturally his sharp little toenails come into play.  (You can always tell new iguana owners by the red slashes on their forearms.)

Eventually everyone learns to scoop their iguanas up from underneath rather than grabbing them from the top (like a hungry predator).  Still, some iguanas resist being picked up no matter how politely.  So they need their toenails trimmed to make the process less painful.

Wrap him in a towel.  Pull out one leg at a time.  Clip just the tips off with a fingernail clipper.  Red polish is optional.  Pink is fine for females.

Use a new clipper so it cuts cleanly.  What’s a clipper cost?  A buck?  They’re much better than most scissors.

4.       Why feed pelleted foods to an iguana?

Pelleted iguana foods are nutritionally balanced to provide everything these tree-dwelling dragons need except full-spectrum light and water.

Iguana pellets contain the 2:1 calcium/phosphorus ratio iguanas need for proper bone growth.

Iguana pellets certainly contain less salts than grocery store dog foods.  Iguanas snort extra salts out through their noses.  

Iguana pellets contain the low protein level needed by iguanas.  Some vets report too high a protein intake will blow out their kidneys in about four years.

Iguana pellets don’t grow mold all over them like most fresh fruits.  And you can’t beat the convenience – just pour them out of the can or bag.

Cost?  Pretty reasonable compared to buying several kinds of fresh produce to shred to bite size every week.  And definitely less work.  Pelleted foods?  The only way to go.

5.       Can I use rabbit pellets on the floor of my iguana cage?

Rabbit pellets are made of ground alfalfa plus some wheat and oats.  They contain lots of the fiber iguanas need.

Rabbit pellets cost very little – especially in large bags.  And since you know your iguana tries to eat whatever’s on the floor, rabbit pellets make an excellent choice to put on the bottom of their cages.

One word of warning:  Keep them dry.  Wet rabbit pellets make an industrial-size mess.

6.              Should I feed my iguanas dog food?

You may already have suspected it, but dog foods were made for the special needs of our canine friends.  In small amounts they make a great iguana supplement, but over the long haul most dog foods contain the wrong nutrition.

One vet told us, “Once your iguanas start eating dog food, you rarely have nutrition problems with them.  This was in the early days of iguana keeping -- last millennium.

This is true in the short run.  The eaters of dog food are the survivors – well past the tender baby stage.  (We avoid the babies whenever we can.)

Iguanas fed large quantities of dog food will grow two inches a month (twice the normal rate).  This is not a healthy growth rate to maintain.

We were given the “feed them dog food advice” well before the advent of pelleted foods.  Current advice:  Go with pelleted foods.

LA
If you find an iguana you like, any time's the right time.

7.       When’s the best time to buy an iguana?

Buying an iguana in hot weather is a smart move.  Iguanas need 85o weather (or hotter) to digest their food.  No problem in hot weather – whether you provide extra heat or not.

Iguanas also need full-spectrum lighting to manufacture vitamin D3 (just like us, but we get ours in our milk).  Iguanas can’t absorb bone building calcium without vitamin D3.  No problem in hot weather.  Just make sure you keep them on a leash when you take them outdoors in the sun.  They are Speedy Gonzales in the hot sun.

But the really best time to buy an iguana is when you find one in stock that you like.  Iguanas ain’t shirts.  You can’t always find the size you want.  In fact, you can’t always find them on the shelf.

 

8.        Do iguanas like sunlight?

Iguanas love the sun and hot weather.  They need full spectrum lighting to manufacture vitamin D3.  (As we say at Aqualand, the sun makes a good temporary substitute until you can get the light bulbs your iguana needs.)  But make sure you don’t leave your iguana in full sun all day.  They get sunburned just like we do.  It just takes longer.

In nature iguanas move into the shade to cool off.  (Maybe the local salsa stations tell them to turn every 15 minutes?)  But few critters can stand up to full sun over the long haul.  A caged iguana in the sun will cook just like Cool Hand Luke in a chain gang sweat box.

One couple reported their iguana was covered on one side with blisters.  It had no access to a heat lamp (which are well known iguana blisterers).  However, it was allowed to sit in the window all day long.  Bingo.  Sunburn.  Does your iguana need a sunscreen?  These will no doubt be the next iggie product.

9.       How do I get an iguana out of a tree?

We know that none of our regular customers would allow their iguanas to run up a tree.  We educated you too well.

But the other day we received a frantic call asking the above question.  His neighbor’s iguana had run up a large tree (the lowest branch was 30 feet off the ground).  His neighbor said he could have the iguana IF he could catch it.

He said the animal control officer “wouldn’t mess with it because it was so large.”  He’d already seen it run into an adjacent tree.  And he wanted that iguana bad, so he called us for ideas.  He thought we might have an “iguana trap” in stock. 

I’ve always preferred #4 shot in the old 20-gauge myself.  Another solution is waiting till it freezes and he drops like a ripe apple.  Or pull the tree out by the roots and shake him out. 

Obviously there is no practical way to coax an iguana out of a large tree.  Squirrels are much easier to capture than iguanas.  (By the way, the caller was in construction and had huge aluminum extension ladders.)

Prevention is your only protection.  If you take an untethered iguana to the park on a hot day, you could be calling in this same question yourself.

LA
She's looking up lovingly at the wearer of the shirt.

Keep your iguana inside or keep it on a leash – a strong leash.  LA.

More Info?  Go to Iguana Training

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