Your Iguana (and You) to Get Along
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Healthy iguanas learn to eat out of your hand
Wild Ig. Few people want a tail-whipping, finger-biting, wrist-ripping, crocodile-rolling lizard on the end of their leash – or even in a cage in their bedroom. Untamed iguanas fear you -- and you probably fear them. You look like a hungry monster to them so they:
Mild Ig. Instead, people pick the calm (even sleepy) little guy that just lolls around. Bad choice. Lazy loafers are often sick, dehydrated, or starving to death. A good healthy iguana is an untamed wild critter that thinks you want to eat him. Of course he runs from some big monster that tries to grab him. You would too. But don’t run into the woods -- or the basement.
First Aid. Get your mild ig rehydrated by soaking him in warm water and giving him Pedialyte. Put a few drops on his nose. Most iguanas will lick it off and learn to like it. A little later, repeat the process with some diluted (warm but not hot) jarred, baby food (squash, for instance). Realize this guy has problems and keep him warm (85 o to 90o) and unstressed.
The Wild Bunch. Hopefully, you picked a spunky guy. The best ones rear up on straight legs, turn sideways, flare their dewlaps, show their teeth (and tongue), bob their heads, and swing their tails and act mean because they don’t want you to eat them or beat them (bigger males beat up smaller males). You don’t have a mean iguana. You have a healthy iguana.
Hold Him. If you let your iguana go every time he acts up, he wins. You lose. He just trained you to leave him the heck alone. Never let him down (even if he bites) until he calms down. If you let him down when he bites, you just trained him to bite you. You lose. If you let him down when he scratches, you just trained him to scratch you. You lose. Who’s in charge? You or that little, scaly salad eater? Take charge. Hold him till he calms down.
Trim Toenails. Iguanas need their claws to climb trees. Iguanas do not need Freddie Krueger nails (unless you like your wrists slashed). Keep their sharp nail tips trimmed. Can’t handle him to trim him? Throw a towel over his head and body and pull out one leg at a time. Carefully trim each toenail and watch how his personality suddenly improves when you’re done. Hold him till he calms down.
Grab firmly. You don’t want the little guys eyes to bug out, but grasp him firmly when you pick him up. If you grab too lightly, he learns that a little struggling gets you off his back. You decide when to let him loose.
Escapees. If your iguana gets loose in the house, do not panic if you cannot find him immediately. (Put your cat in the rest room.) One night on the loose should not present a problem to a healthy iguana. Look in the high places. They love to climb your drapes. He’ll show “up.”
Tail Details. We used to see lots of missing tails -- or rather their stumps. The iguana started to run, so someone grabbed his tail and it popped off (just like it was supposed to do). In the wild, iguanas drop their tails to distract hungry predators while they escape with their lives. It grows back eventually. The tail won’t be as green or as long, but it will grow back.
Tail Insurance. Play with his tail. Touch it. (Don’t pull it.) Get him used to having his tail “handled.” He won’t be so likely to drop his tail if he gets used to you touching it. Important: If he tries to jump away from you, let him. If you grab him by his detachable tail, it will usually break off like it’s designed to do. By the way, you can expect some inquisitive kid to grab his tail later. Kids can’t resist grabbing iguana tails. Kids should not play with iguanas. Make sure that kid washes his hands after touching your iguana.
More Info? Go to Iguana Update
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