Originally Answered: Want a Green Iguana?
Iguanas can be a lot of work, they are not like a dog or cat that loves there owners right away. Iguanas can take months to years before they will trust there slave owners, and still you only have a 50/50 chance. Iguanas are not a reptile that you can just give food too once a month, they do require good staple greens daily, and some iguanas can eat up to 4-5 cups a day, 2-5 times a day. You will not know what sex you have until a year of age. Young iguanas can whip and bite you, the bite wont hurt when they are young, but when they get older, if they bite you, you may require stitches.
Iguanas if you get more then 1 should not be housed together. Iguanas do not need a "buddy". They usually prefer to just be by themselves, there are some iguanas that don't mind other iguanas w/ them, but there is many dangers when housing more then 1 iguana together. 2 Males should never be housed together, you may be lucky w/ 2 females. 1 Male 1 Female, well that is a whole possible problem, they may be fine together, but when breeding season starts, the male may bite and hurt the female to mate. If you just have 1 iguana, and breeding season starts, males will need a "love sock" to mate w/, female iguanas can become gravid, this mean produce eggs, w/out a male assistance, they will not be fertile, but they still need a place to lay there eyes.
Young iguanas should grow at least 1-3inches a month, if not more. Males can get up to 6ft tall. Females usually never get as long as the males do, females can get up to 5ft tall. It is mostly tail, more then body. But they also need the proper living space, diet, UVB, heat, humidity.
Iguanas have very long sharp claws/nails, if you don't trim them. They can be trimmed w/ finger nail clippers, but you do need to make sure that you do not go too far up on the nail, there nails are just like cats and dogs nails, if you trim too close they can bleed.
Iguanas should be bathed daily if not every other day. They can learn to used the bath tub as there rest room, they will also need a dish in there tank for drinking and for using the rest room in.
Iguanas can be sweet when they are younger after they have gained your trust (its not you trust them), but usually around the age of 3 yrs old, they may become somewhat more "aggressive". I'm not saying that every iguana is this way, just some. This is why a lot of iguanas end up in shelters, because the owners do not know what to do, or how to handle "aggressive" iguanas.
Below is the basic set up/requirements that an iguana should have. I would advise before you buy an iguana that you do a lot of reading, make sure an iguana is the right reptile for you.
Young iguana (8-12 months of age) should not live in anything smaller the a 55 gallon tank. Smaller the tank you can not process the correct temps threw out. Enclosure needs to be at least 1.5-2 times it's total length ... an adult you will need a space of 6-7ft tall x 8-10ft long x 4ft wide. After they are out of living in a tank, you can move them directly into the living space for an adult, iguanas dislike chance, and they can sometimes try and whip/bite you when moving from one space to another space.
never let drop below 70F ...
basking 92-96F if temp is too low digestion is slowed too high food digests too fast and nutrition is lost
medium/middle (overall) 88-92F
at night 73-84F ... having a temp gun works the best to know what your igs body temp truly is.
*** NO HEAT ROCKS PLEASE ... they can cause major burns on the under belly ... igs dont feel heat from below so they will sit there not knowing they are burning themselves ***
- Depending on enclosure size, depends on wattage, but for basking light (along w/ UVB tube) you can use a house bulb for heat during the day, you don't have to use one of those costly basking bulbs you buy at the store (night if your house gets below 70 a CHE should be used - produces heat no light)
- Stick on glass thermometers do not work, they can read incorrect, get a good thermometer w/ a probe at the end, and place where your iguana is basking under and at his/her level, you will get more of a correct temp reading
Iguanas are tropical and do need humidity. Spraying/Misting a few times a day will help some, silk fake leaves (bigger then your igs head) will help hold some humidity, having a humidifier or vaporizer next to the tank will help (figure out a way to pipe inside would be better but think child proof also), daily baths will help and learn to go potty in the tub less mess in tank.
UVB: (12 hrs on during day - 12 hrs off during night no light)
US: ReptiSun 10.0 distance 8-10 inches from your igs body
Repti Glo 8.0 distance 6-8 inches from your igs body
ReptiSun 5.0 distance 6-8 inches from your igs body
UK: Arkadia distance 6-8 inches from your igs body
- You will need to adjust the distance as your ig grows
- Using a shop light from a home improvement store works the best, get one that has 2 tube plugs and using 2 UVB tubes
- The UVB listed are in tube form, using the 36-48inch tubes are the best more length for your ig
- Surface under the UVB tube lights need to be a flat surface if at an angle your igs body will not get the proper UVB threw out
- There are UVB's out there on the market now that can cause eye damange to your ig
- W/out UVB your ig may end up w/ MBD (Metabolic Bone Disease)
- UVB information that you may find interesting:
http://www.uvguide.co.uk/index.htm - http://www.uvguide.co.uk/fluorescenttube... - http://www.uvguide.co.uk/whatreptilesnee...
BAD floor covering: bark, dirt, moss, sand, pellets are all bad ... at some point your iguana will try and lick swallow and then possibly cause blockage which will then need to be surgically removed or possibly death ... SAFE floor covering: newspaper (unprinted), paper towels, towels, vinyl flooring, indoor/outdoor carpeting - if you have any lose fibers from the carpeting or the towels please remove and replace - unprinted newspaper if you possibly can use is safer just in case your ig likes to try and eat the newspaper some ink may contain soy
Daily food should have 5-7 good staple greens (2-3 cups a day if not more younger igs may eat less then 1/4 cup) ... collard greens, mustard greens, turnip greens, dandelion greens (if you can find), endive, radicchio, arugula, mache (if you can find), watercress ... some greens to give occasionally kale, bok choy, escarole ... adding basil for young igs sometimes helps them eat ... romaine is mostly water no nutrience, you can add small amount and occasionally in w/ the good staple greens (collard, mustard, etc) but do not make romaine just your iguanas choice of greens (or any other type of lettuce most of us humans eat) ... some things to add (small amounts) snap peas, bell peppers (every now and then), parsnip, sweet potato/yam, acorn squash, butternut squash, buttercup squash ... fruits should only be given every now and then once or twice a week type of thing fruits are like junk food to iguanas ... some fruits to try papay, kiwi, mango, raspberries, strawberries, grapes, honeydew (great water source), canalope (great water source), 12 grain wheat bread ... if anything has seeds make sure you remove seed before you give it to your iguana anything w/ small seeds like strawberries wait like 3 days before giving anymore ... watermelon (seedless) can be frozen and then shaved onto your iguanas food helps w/ hydration everyday ... there are some foods that aren't good for your iguana: spinach has oxalate acids bind to the calcium, so even though spinach is high in calcium, almost none is actually available for the iguana to use, also the oxalate acids can form oxalate crystals which can and do build up in the kidneys causing kidney damage/failure ... some ig owners do give there ig spinach but in very small amounts and only once a month ... corn igs can not digest ... carrots can block calcium absorption ... bananas are low in calcium best to give another type of fruit ... apples too much acid - appetite suppressant ... rhubarb is poisonous ... food should be cut/chopped/diced no bigger then the iguanas head, if they are small having a chopper chop them up, or slice them into very small pieces ... spray/mist food to help w/ water/hydration
Iguanas are plant eaters, they should not be feed any animal protein. No meat/bugs, no dairy. If you ever give your ig iguana diet dried food, please read the ingredients there are so many products on the market today that clearly puts meat protein in there ingredients, usually w/ in the first 10 ingredients. Some that I am aware of that do MonsterDiet, TRex, Zilla, Wardley. RepCal Iguana pellets is one that is safe to use. Soak pellets before offering to help w/ hydration, only give a few pellets for you want the greens to be main diet.
When you get an iguana you should take your ig to a herp/reptile vet that knows about iguanas. Just for a new pet check over. Your ig may have mites, parasites or other nasty things carried from the pet store. Plus if anything was to happen you know who to call w/out looking threw the phone book hoping you find a vet who knows something about iguanas.
Sites for you to read:
http://www.greenigsociety.org/ - http://www.iguanaden.org/ - http://www.anapsid.org/iguana/index.html
A great book to read and have on hand:
Iguanas for Dummies by Melissa Kaplan
Yahoo has some great sites for Iguana owners... these groups helped me and still help w/ questions .. if you'd like to join:
http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/BabyIguana/ - http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/IguanaDen/