What do i feed my baby iguana

What Do Baby Iguanas Eat?

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Before you acquire an iguana, it’s important to remember that they are not as popular as other reptiles. Iguanas are reptiles, and properly caring for them takes time, patience, and money. Finding the proper food or veterinary treatment may be difficult in some areas.

Baby iguanas, on the other hand, seldom live longer than a year in captivity. They should be kept under constant watch and fed healthy food. As a result, if you decide to acquire a baby iguana, you must be very cautious. Stay with us at FeedingNature and learn all there is to know about feeding a baby iguana as well as how to do it effectively.

What Do Baby Iguanas Eat?

The average lifespan of a domestic green iguana is 15 to 20 years, although certain individuals can survive for up to 30 years. Green iguanas are herbivores, which means they consume plants. In the wild, iguanas eat flowers, leaves, and certain types of fruits.

A well-balanced diet of greens, vegetables, fruits, and other items will help guarantee that you have a happy and healthy iguana. Make sure your pet has a variety of different meals to eat. This is an excellent way for your pet to try new and interesting foods while also ensuring that the diet is well-balanced. The majority of the nutrients needed can be found in pet shops and supermarkets.

Vegetables & Fruit Vegetables & Fruits

Most of your pet’s food should be fresh greens and vegetables. To make eating the food easier, it should be chopped up. Mustard, collard, dandelion greens, kale, turnip greens, and romaine lettuce are some of the greens you could offer your pet. Shredded carrots, green beans, peas, and other legumes, squash, and bell peppers are all good options of vegetables you can feed them.

When fresh food is not available, frozen vegetables can be used instead. An excellent emergency meal is a mix of french-cut green beans, carrots, peas, corn, and lima beans. Before feeding your iguana frozen veggies, be sure they’ve been thoroughly defrosted. Thawing frozen food in a hot water bath is an easy method to do so.

Fruits can be given to an iguana as a pleasant treat. Strawberries, bananas, blueberries, cantaloupe, and apples are some of the fruits that your pet may enjoy. Chopping fruit for consumption is the same as with other foods; it should be chopped.

Iguana Food An Iguana About To Chow Down on Food

Commercial iguana food is available, which may be added to the diet of your pet. Iguana food is usually given in pellet form and can be mixed with other meals. Dry iguana pellets are more difficult to eat if they are not moistened before being fed. Your iguana should be fed only with food intended for reptiles. The primary diet of your lizard should not include iguana food.

Bread & Grains Bread & Grains

Grains and bread may be given to your pet on rare occasions. Pasta, rice, and whole-grain bread are all wonderful treats for your iguana. Make sure the meal is chopped into small pieces to make it more appealing to chew.

Insects Insects

Mealworms and crickets are frequently included in the diets of pet baby iguanas. Green iguanas, on the other hand, are herbivores and aren’t meant to eat insects.

Adult iguanas do not require a lot of protein, and insects are an excellent source of nutrients. Greens and vegetables provide the insect protein that adult iguanas require. A pet iguana may be harmed by too much protein.


A pet iguana requires a constant source of water, even if he receives most of his drinking from his diet. A big dish that is difficult to spill and brimming with clean water should be accessible at all times.

Supplements Vitamin Supplements

Reptile supplements ensure that your pet iguana receives all of the vitamins and minerals it requires. Vitamin D3 and calcium tablets can be given to your pet once a week. About once a week, a reptile multivitamin may be added to his diet.

Supplements generally come in the form of powder and are simply added to meals. Only a tiny amount is required. Supplements should be used in moderation with your iguana’s food. Excess supplementation can be dangerous.

What Do Baby Iguanas Eat in The Wild?

There are a variety of different iguana species, and each requires a distinct diet. We’ll look at each type of iguana’s natural food sources.

Green Iguanas

Green iguanas are herbivores that primarily consume leaves, which means they are folivores. In the wild, a green iguana will mostly eat fruits, flowers, and foliage in the jungle canopy where it resides.

Green iguanas in the jungles of Central and South America will primarily consume leaves off trees and vines. They will also eat fruits to a lesser extent when these are in season.

Red Iguanas A Red Iguana

The red iguana is a color variant of the green iguana, which means it must eat the same food like a green iguana. That implies that red iguanas should consume leafy greens, vegetables, and fruits in their diet.

How To Feed Baby Iguanas? A Green Iguana in The Wild

Some individuals become frightened if they find out that their baby iguanas are refusing to eat the food they are being offered. However, keep in mind that iguana hatchlings consume the yolk sac up to two weeks after they are born. So, once the two weeks are up, you may start feeding them a little bit of food.

It’s much easier and more effective to feed a baby iguana after it has basked. You must maintain temperatures in the mid-80s °F for these animals, and the basking temperature should be at least a hundred degrees Fahrenheit (between 100 and 110 °F), or they won’t develop their metabolism.

Remember, in the wild, iguanas live on hot rocks that comfortably warm our lizards. They’ll then go looking for leaves, weeds, and fallen fruit once they’re nice and toasty. Keeping temperatures high enough to pique their desire is critical.

Prepare some collard greens, shredded carrots, and yellow squash for the primary dinner. Because of their bright color, shredded carrots and yellow squash are a good choice.

An important step to consider is to make sure that the food is not supposed to be too cold. If you’re using frozen veggies, allow them to sit out for a while before feeding your pet baby iguana.

As a first step, remove your baby iguana from his cage since you can’t feed him inside it. Now, change how you’re holding it by softly grasping his mouth with one hand. On the other hand, you’ll offer him food.

Hand feeding an iguana entails using one hand to hold him and the other to feed him. It would be much easier just to offer food while he’s standing free, but keep in mind that we’re dealing with a newborn, unruly iguana here.

Following that, put a little meal on the tip of his nose. He may become irritated and open his mouth, which is precisely what we want. Remember, we took the warm iguana right after his basking session, so he’ll be very active and aggressive. Most likely, he’ll try to protect himself by opening his mouth, which is why we’ve planned it that way.

You just apply a little pressure to the edge as he opens his mouth. Fill his mouth with this food gently. You can’t choke him unless you tube-feed the animal, but that’s a different story altogether. They will swallow their own food when it reaches a specific point in their throat.

As your baby iguana begins to taste it and pull it down on his own, watch as he learns the flavor of what he’ll eat. He’s learning the flavor of the meals he’ll consume. If he keeps his mouth open, you can provide him with a tiny bit more. Don’t be concerned about the quantity of food you’re providing him; his own teeth will fight it off, and we may simply let him finish swallowing it after a little struggle.

If your iguana refuses to open his mouth, try pushing the tip of your index finger against the base of his snout and gently encouraging him to do so. Patience is sometimes required.

Tell them that it is not something that will harm them. Hand feeding is a fascinating procedure that helps to connect you and your pet together. So, making a few efforts over time may result in considerable benefits.

What Are The Natural Predators of Baby Iguanas?

The word “iguana” is a catch-all term that refers to a wide range of lizards and lizard-like animals. The most prevalent is the green iguana, which may be found in parts of North and South America and is utilized as a pet by many people. Other varieties include the oceanic and desert iguanas. The iguana has a variety of predators because there are so many various types of iguanas, as well as numerous distinct individuals, in the wild.


One of the major predators of iguanas is the eagle. Birds such as eagles, hawks, and owls regularly consume both adult iguanas and unhatched eggs. Iguanas are also eaten by herons, other water birds, and several species of seabirds. These iguanas are most vulnerable just before giving birth and after they have completed their growth.


Snakes are a significant predator of both desert iguanas and green iguanas and their relatives, including guanay. Venomous snakes consume desert iguanas, while boa constrictors and near relatives devour green iguanas. Other reptiles, such as ground lizards, may also eat them.


Iguanas are not naturally preyed upon by mammals, however invasive species such as dogs, cats, and rats take them out of their natural environments. This is also true in places where the iguana is an invasive species, such as in Florida, where green iguanas abound. Mammalian animals such as household pet raccoons and rats prey on these iguanas.


Green iguanas are sometimes preyed upon by crocodiles and alligators. On the other side of the coin, black iguanas have been observed digging up and consuming these amphibians‘ eggs. The assaults by alligators and crocodiles on black iguanas may be defensive in nature, rather than a typical predator-and-prey scenario.


Larger predatory fish are a threat to marine iguanas. Sharks, in particular the tiger shark, which feeds on a wide range of prey species, eat iguanas on a regular basis.


A human is by far one of the most frequent predators an iguana may encounter. It’s surprising to learn that humans are a significant killer of iguanas, but they are eaten frequently in many regions due to their popularity as food. They’ve been given the name chicken of the trees since they’re frequently hunted.

Green iguanas are eaten throughout Central and South America. To meet the high demand, they are bred and raised on farms.

Are Baby Iguanas Healthy To Eat?

Green iguanas are hunted and eaten in several Latin American countries, according to National Geographic. In some countries, the species has been classified as endangered since people have been eating them for such a long time.

At least 10,000 years ago, Iguanas first entered human consciousness as a food source owing to their accessibility. It was also less hazardous for early man to capture than other creatures he encountered.

The meat of an iguana is prized in Mexico, Central, and South America for its high protein content and low-fat content.

Some restaurants in the United States will even provide iguana-based recipes on their menu. The flesh is incorporated in meals like tacos, stews, burritos, and soups and provides a mild flavor. This may be strange to some of us, especially for those that keep iguanas as pets, but we must be conscious that there are cultural differences that may exist, depending upon the region.

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How to feed baby iguana

Sometimes people get freaked out because their baby iguanas haven’t eaten any food, but have in mind that iguana hatchling absorb the yolk sac up to two weeks after they’ve been born. So, after that period you can start to give them a little bit of food.

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Hand feeding is much easier, and more successful, if you do it right after iguana’s basking. You’ve got to keep these guys temperatures in the mid 80s °F (30°C ) and you have to provide basking temperature that’s at least a hundred degrees (between 100 and 110 °F, or 37-43°C) to raise their metabolism. Remember, in the wilderness, iguanas live on rocks which heat up on the sun, comfortably warming our lizards. After that, they are ready for some snack, start moving around, they’re looking for weeds, leaves and fruits that have fallen on the ground. In short, you have to keep those temperatures high enough to stimulate their appetite.

For the main meal, prepare some collard greens, shredded yellow squash and shredded carrots. It’s good idea to use yellow squash and shredded carrots because of their bright color, which makes this food attractive.

Food must not be cold – if you use frozen vegetables, leave them outside of the fridge long enough to reach the room temperature. For detailed info about iguana food, what is good, what is  bad and what is absolutely forbidden in their diet, check out our article about iguana diet.

As a first step, get your baby ig out of his enclosure (you can’t hand feed him inside the enclosure.) Now, adjust the way how you hold it, gently hold his mouth with one hand. You will feed him with another hand.


As you see, in this approach, we will use both hands to hand feed an iguana – one hand to hold him, the other one to offer him food. It would be easier just to give him food while he’s standing free, but remember – we’re talking about newborn, untamed reptile here.

Now, let’s put a little food right on the tip of his nose. He might get annoyed and open his mouth, which is exactly what we want. Remember, we took the ‘warm’ iguana, right after the basking session, so he will be active, a bit aggressive, most likely will try to defend himself by opening his mouth, which is our plan.

As he opens his mouth you just put a little pressure on the edge. Gently push this food into his mouth.  Don’t worry, you can’t choke him (this can happen only if you tube feed the animal, but that’s totally different situation.) Once the food gets past a certain point in their throat, they will swallow it on their own.

Observe as he starts to taste it and pulls it down on his own. He starts to learn the taste of the food he’s going to be eating. If he keeps his mouth open, you can give him a little bit more. Don’t worry too much about the amount of food you’re offering to him, his own teeth will fight it off and we can just let him, after a little struggle, to finish swallowing it.

If iguana doesn’t want to open his mouth, try this: instead of food, place the fingernail, of your index finger, right against the tip of iguana’s mouth and push it gently, a bit by bit, and try to make him open his mouth. Sometimes patience is involved.

You don’t want to do this with the adult iguana. It’s a little bit more difficult if you have a sick adult iguana since they can really give you a good bite.

When you’re done with hand feeding, you will place this plate into iguanas’ enclosure and give them the chance to sniff it later, on their own.

Don’t forget to remove any leftovers later – fungi can appear and make you big problems. Remember to keep iguana’s enclosure clean all the times.

Just reassure them and let them know that this is not something that’s going to hurt. In some way, hand feeding is a really cool process and helps bonding you and your animal together. So, a little bit of effort will pay off eventually.

Author Iguana HutPosted on Categories Iguana CareTags hand feeding

Iguana amphibian. What to feed and how to care for an iguana at home

Detachment - Lizards

Family - Iguanas

Genus/Species - Iguana iguana

Basic data:


Length: 1. 6-2 m.

Weight up to 4 kg.


Puberty: from 3 years old.

Mating period: varies by region.

Number of eggs: 25-60.

once a year.

Incubation: up to 90 days.


Habits: sometimes lives in groups; active during the day.

What does it eat: leaves, berries, fruits and other plants; young iguanas also eat invertebrates.


One of the species of this genus is a very rare species that lives only in the Caribbean.

The green iguana is an impressive lizard. She has a long tail and a big head and really makes a strange impression. Her throat pouch and spiked crest are designed to frighten anyone who approaches her. But despite their terrifying appearance, these iguanas are peaceful herbivores.


The main food of the iguana is plants and animals. The diet of an iguana varies with age. Adult animals feed on plants, although in some areas they also eat small mammals and chicks. From plants, reptiles collect leaves, berries and sweet fruits, and also feed on young shoots.

Juvenile iguanas are more brightly colored than adults because they usually feed on insects and their larvae, spiders and small invertebrates, which they often descend to the ground for. Sometimes iguanas eat the carrion they find.

The green iguana grows throughout its life. If there is not enough food, the iguana loses weight and sometimes survives only by using its own fat reserves accumulated during the period when there was plenty of food. The female uses the same reserves when digging a hole for the nest, when she does not eat at all.


The mating behavior of green iguanas has been carefully studied by researchers. After mating, the fertilized female lays her eggs in a 30 cm deep hole, which she digs in the ground. A constant temperature is maintained in the hole, which is necessary for the development of the cubs. The hole is also a hiding place from enemies.

The female of this reptile digs a hole with its forelimbs, and throws the earth out of it with its hind limbs. While digging a hole, she sometimes leaves the place of "work" to rest. At the end of the hole, the female makes a depression in which she lays her eggs. The number of eggs depends on the size of the female and ranges from 25 to 60. Then the female diligently fills the hole and rams the ground with her head. After that, she runs past it several times to confuse the tracks and close access to the eggs for predators.Cubs hatch, depending on the temperature, after 65-70 days.Newborn iguana cubs are bright green in color, 20 cm long.


In most areas of residence, the green iguana is quite numerous. Its natural habitats are swampy areas, sea coasts and savannah, however, the most familiar habitat of the iguana is the rainforest.

The iguana climbs trees well, deftly jumping from branch to branch, and therefore inhabits all tiers of the tropical rain forest - from the ground to the crowns of trees, even at a height of up to 30-40 m. The iguana descends to the ground in the evening, in search of food. She hides in the jungle among the leaves of the trees. The iguana usually rests on the branches of trees, basking in the sun. Despite the massive body, it easily moves along thin branches. A frightened iguana rushes to the ground even from a height of 5-6 meters and runs hiding in green thickets.

The lizard enjoys being on the branches located above the water, and in case of danger it jumps down, remaining in the water for up to several minutes, until the danger has passed.


The tasty white meat of iguanas and their eggs are an important source of food for many people living in South America. Thanks to the unusual, shocking appearance of iguanas, they are willingly bred by amateurs, so they have become a subject of trade. However, in the hands of inexperienced people, many green iguanas die.

  • Sensing danger, the iguana straightens the spikes on its back and thus tries to frighten the enemy.
  • If the iguana is in a stalemate, he goes on the offensive, using sharp teeth and claws and striking like a whip with his strong muscular tail.
  • The adult green iguana has few natural enemies, except for large wild cats, crocodiles and boas. Birds of prey and other species of lizards are a great danger to young iguanas, and young individuals often fall prey to them.
  • On a small island off the coast of Panama, there is an area of ​​50 m 2 where about 200 green iguanas gather annually to lay their eggs.
  • Sometimes several females lay their eggs in one depression - this will subsequently help newborn cubs to get to the earth's surface faster.


Young iguana: lighter coloration, unexpressed throat pouch and dorsal spines.

Adult male: grey-green scales, throat pouch and long, curved spines on the back along the spine.

Adult female: she has a lighter body compared to the male, spikes on her back and a smaller throat pouch.

Claws: are long and curved, helping to hold firmly on the branch. The female uses them for digging.

Tail: three times as long as the body, muscular, slightly laterally compressed. In case of danger, it is used as a weapon.

- Habitat of the green iguana

Numerous populations are found in the tropical zone of America, from southern Mexico to Paraguay and southern Brazil. It also lives on some islands in the Caribbean.


Today, the green iguana is not threatened with extinction, however, in many places the population is endangered as a result of hunting and trapping for meat and keeping in terrariums.

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Green iguana, its content is very popular, it is she who is most often found in pet stores. She is very sweet, but before bringing her home, you need to familiarize yourself with some of the features of her content. An adult iguana is a large lizard, up to 2 meters in length, so it will need a huge terrarium, as it must move freely. Iguanas are not easy to keep and have peculiar culinary preferences.

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The green iguana is by far the most popular reptile kept as a pet in the US. Every year, huge numbers of this species are imported into the US from iguana farms in Central and South America.

The green iguana can be found in almost every pet store and some shows have even given away these animals as prizes as if they were goldfish.

Unfortunately, with such popularity, the market price of iguanas has fallen so low ($15-$50) that many people have begun to buy these animals, having neither knowledge of the necessary conditions of detention, nor an understanding that the costs of properly accommodating a new pet will be 10 times higher than its price.

Some pet stores selling iguanas exacerbate the problem by selling completely inappropriate equipment with them and giving incorrect care and maintenance advice. This has led to a huge number of dead or homeless iguanas and the disappointment of their owners. The best way to avoid this outcome is education.

Purchase or "adoption" of an iguana

There are several factors to consider before making the final decision to purchase an iguana, number one being its size. Iguanas are large lizards. A healthy iguana can easily reach a size of 1.8m, so it needs a huge terrarium.

Iguanas are not easy to keep, they have very specific dietary preferences and environmental requirements, so it will be necessary to thoroughly prepare before acquiring an animal.

Children of any age will not be able to care for an iguana, and parents should understand that all responsibility for the care of the animal will fall on them.

Iguanas can also carry salmonellosis. With insufficient hygiene, Salmonella can be transmitted to humans and cause a serious bacterial infection. The risk of infection is especially high in children, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems. The chance of contracting salmonellosis from a carrier iguana is low if every time after contact with an animal, cleaning the terrarium, wash hands, and isolate the terrarium and the animal itself from food preparation areas.

Iguanas can make great pets, but they require a lot of attention. If you are just considering adopting an iguana, first contact your local reptile societies to adopt an iguana that has been abandoned by its owners. Many reptile communities have homeless animal adoption programs, and an iguana can be loaned to you for a small fee.

Because of the amount of misinformation about iguanas in the animal trade, many iguana owners do not know what they are getting into when they buy an iguana. And often, these owners end up abandoning the animal because they can no longer or don't want to take care of it. As a result, reptile housing agencies are overrun with stray iguanas (they share this fate with the tiger pythons who are there for the same reason).

If you have not found an iguana in a shelter, then you can buy one.

Most iguanas found in pet stores are young or juvenile and it is important to choose a healthy animal. Healthy baby iguanas are energetic, when someone tries to grab them, they run wildly around the cage and often whip their tail. If the animal does not try to resist, continues to sit or lie down when picked up, this does not mean that it is tame. This means it hurts.

The iguana should be brightly colored, alert, active and eager to eat. Iguanas that are kept in proper conditions almost never refuse food. Ask to show you how she eats.

It is important to pay attention to the conditions in which animals are kept. It pains me to remember how many times I have seen shops or wholesalers selling iguana babies stuffed into a 40 liter aquarium, each trying to warm up on a single tiny heating stone.

Avoid places like plagues. They don't know how to care for an iguana themselves, and they can't help you provide the animal with the right conditions. Such stores contribute greatly to the emergence of homeless iguanas.

Ask the seller to tell you about the necessary conditions for keeping an iguana, and if he cannot answer you correctly, look for another place to buy a pet. It is possible to purchase a healthy, well-cared for animal from a well-informed and experienced seller, but this often requires some effort.

Required terrarium

Iguanas are large animals and require large facilities to keep them. The normal size of an adult iguana is 150-180cm. An adult iguana should live in a terrarium with a minimum size of 120*120*180 cm (L*D*H).

Iguanas require a vertical cage because they are aboreal (arboreal) animals and prefer to spend most of their time climbing as high as they can. Branches of trees with a diameter slightly larger than the thickness of the animal itself should be provided for him to climb. Branches can be bought or collected from the forest, but in the latter case, they must be sterilized using chlorine bleach (1 part bleach to 10 parts water), and then rinsed thoroughly with clean water.

A young iguana can be kept in a smaller terrarium, but the minimum recommended size for a temporary (nursery) terrarium is 200 liters. Within 4 months (assuming you bought an iguana 1-3 months old), your iguana will outgrow the temporary terrarium and should be placed in a large one. The industry today does not make terrariums large enough for an adult iguana, so the only way out is to build a house for it yourself or order it according to an individual drawing.

The substrate for the terrarium can be newspapers with soy-based printing ink, bark chips or a green plastic lawn mat. Newspaper is by far the most practical, albeit the least aesthetically pleasing, backing option.

Do not use wood shavings, corn-cob bedding, sand, or crushed walnut shells in an iguana terrarium. Wood sawdust (especially cedar) gives a specific odor that irritates the sense of smell of reptiles, which can harm the respiratory system of the animal. The remaining substrates are not digested if they are accidentally eaten and can cause intestinal obstruction.

Iguanas naturally live in tropical forests, so terrariums require high humidity. Air humidity of 75% or more can be obtained if the terrarium is sprayed abundantly once or twice a day.

A few words about walking iguanas

Do not allow the iguana to roam freely around the house without supervision. More than one fire in the house was started by a treacherous, free-roaming iguana, which dropped the lamp on which it climbed to warm itself.

The free-roaming iguana will also have Salmonella variance everywhere, which should be avoided at all costs. A stray iguana can also damage furniture, wiring, and carpet. Iguanas are also masters of climbing into completely unexpected and hard-to-reach places. This can lead to injury when trying to get it out of both the animal and the owner.

Required heating

It is essential that the iguana warms up properly. Reptiles are cold-blooded, which means they don't produce their own heat. Iguanas are forced to regulate their body temperature using their surroundings through a mechanism called extrinsic thermoregulation.

Thermoregulation means that when the reptile is cold, it moves to warmer areas, for example, to a well-heated area, when it is hot, to cooler places. When we confine a reptile's freedom to a terrarium, we must provide it with conditions so that it can regulate its body temperature in the same way as it does in nature. Iguanas need a "warm-up point" with a temperature of 35-38°C, and a "cool-down point" with a temperature of 27-29°C. The night temperature should not fall below 21-24°C, provided that the animal can warm up during the day.

The most correct way to organize a warm-up point is to use heating lamps. The tallest branch should be placed under the heat lamp so that the animal has a place to warm up. Make sure the lamp is out of the iguana's reach, as the animal may get burned. Proper warming is very important for a healthy immune system and good digestion.

Please note that heating stones are not suitable for iguana terrariums. In nature, arboreal reptiles do not lie on their stomachs on warm surfaces to warm up, nor should they be forced to do so at home.

Proper lighting

Iguanas need so-called full spectrum radiation that mimics natural sunlight. Iguanas especially need 290-315 nm ultraviolet (UVB) light to produce provitamin D3.

Provitamin D3 is essential for the absorption of dietary calcium. Without ultraviolet radiation, iguanas develop metabolic bone disease caused by a lack of calcium (rickets). Full spectrum radiation is provided by ultraviolet fluorescent lamps, which are manufactured specifically for reptiles.

When buying a UV lamp, make sure that there is a peak in the spectrum in the UVB region, some "full spectrum lamps" do not have it. It is very important to place the place of heating at a distance of 25-30 cm from the ultraviolet lamp. At a distance of more than 30 cm from the source, the intensity of UVB waves is significantly reduced.

The UV lamp in the iguana terrarium should be on for 10-12 hours a day and off at night. If UV lighting is left overnight, the iguana will not be able to sleep, will become stressed and become inappropriate in behavior.

The UV lamp must be replaced every six months, even if it has not burned out before then. The intensity of ultraviolet radiation decreases over time, and after 6 months of use, such lamps become ineffective.

If possible, provide the iguana with access to sunlight, but provide a place where the iguana can cool down in case of overheating. Sunlight is the best source of ultraviolet radiation, but window glass does not transmit enough of it. Do not expose your iguana tank to direct sunlight as it will the glass of the aquarium will heat up quickly and the iguana may die from overheating. Do not take your iguana outdoors if the temperature is less than 21°C.


No aspect of keeping iguanas is as misleading as nutrition. Iguanas are fully herbivores from the moment they are born, and do not require animal protein at any point in their lives.

Previously, researchers have noted that if an iguana consumes a large amount of animal protein, it grows faster, which is true. However, it is also true that iguanas that consume large amounts of animal protein do not live very long, which is often the result of gout or metabolic bone disease.

It is important to make an iguana's diet rich in calcium-rich greens, fruits and vegetables. Herbivorous reptiles need a 2:1 ratio of calcium and phosphorus in their food.

A diet that will provide this combination typically consists of:
70-80% dark leafy greens that are rich in calcium (collard greens, a close relative of broccoli), mustard greens, chicory, watercress, dandelion greens ). Mulberry and hibiscus leaves make excellent base food if available.

Avoid diets based on iceberg lettuce. it has very low nutritional value. Spinach should either be given in limited quantities, or completely eliminated, because. it contains oxalic acid, which binds calcium in the intestines and prevents its absorption.

20-30% of the diet should be grated vegetables such as carrots, squash, squash, thawed mixed vegetables or de-thorned prickly pear cactus. Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, white cabbage, kale (also some kind of kale with curly leaves), escarole (one of the varieties of chicory), cauliflower should be avoided or limited. These vegetables contain iodine-binding substances, and excessive consumption of them can cause thyroid problems.

10-20% fruits or flowers such as strawberry, raspberry, mango, papaya, kiwi, melon, apple (seedless), prickly pear cactus flowers and fruits, hibiscus, nasturtium, dandelion flowers. Iguanas love bananas, but they should only be given as a treat, as contain the wrong ratio of calcium and phosphorus. Make sure all fruits and vegetables are mashed or cut into small pieces.

In addition to a properly formulated diet, iguanas require calcium supplements, which are available from pet stores. Calcium powder should be sprinkled on food three times a week for juveniles and once or twice a week for adults.

A swimming pool can be placed in the terrarium, but daily spraying is still necessary to maintain high humidity. Often iguanas can lick drops of water directly from the bottle when spraying or from the walls of the terrarium.


The green iguana is the most popular reptile in the home today. Due to its popularity, it is the most numerous species found in animal shelters.

This is a large, naturally very capricious and demanding animal, which is not suitable for beginner terrarium keepers.

The green iguana is an amazing and beautiful animal that is often neglected in the animal trade.

Increasing your own awareness of iguana care and helping others will help reduce the number of dead and homeless animals, as well as improve the lives of iguanas and their owners around the world.

by Petra Spiess
Translation: Elena
in the photo is my iguana Cesarina.


Russian name - common or green iguana

Latin name - Iguana iguana

English name - Green iguana

Class Reptiles or Reptiles (Reptilia)

Squamous order (Squamata)

Suborder Lizards (Lacertilia)

Iguanidae family (Iguanidae)

Genus True iguanas (Iguana)

The name "iguana" comes from the word iwana in the language of the Taina people, who once lived on the islands of the Caribbean and disappeared with the advent of the conquistadors. The Spaniards borrowed this word and it passed into scientific Latin and into all modern European languages.

Conservation status

The species is quite common, however, it is included in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade - СITES. This means that the trade in these animals must be controlled.

Currently, in some areas of its range, the common iguana is suffering from human activities and changes in natural landscapes.

On the other hand, having populated the coast of Florida (outside the boundaries of its natural range), the common iguana itself causes some harm to local rare species of flora and fauna.

View and man

For the first time in European literature, the description of the iguana appeared in 1553, when the Europeans conquered Central and South America.

Among the Indians of different tribes (Maya, Moche) the green iguana was considered a sacred animal, it was worshiped or sacrificed to the gods.

Nowadays, the iguana more often plays not a divine, but a gastronomic role: many national dishes of Latin American cuisine are prepared from it.

The common iguana is often kept at home in special terrariums. Animals tolerate captivity well, quickly get used to humans and successfully breed. Due to this, the pressure of trapping on natural populations is reduced.

Distribution and habitats

The common iguana lives in Central and South America. Its original natural range covers a large area from Mexico south to southern Brazil and Paraguay, as well as the islands of the Caribbean.

In addition, several populations whose ancestors were lizards brought by hurricanes, accidentally introduced on ships or escaped from captivity, formed in some areas of the USA (Florida, Hawaiian Islands, the Rio Grande Valley in Texas). It is these "invasive" (inhabited where they were not previously) populations of iguanas that settled in the United States that cause certain harm to the local flora and fauna (eating plants, occupying the burrows of the rare burrowing owl, etc.).

Common iguana habitats are diverse biotopes with dense woody vegetation, mainly tropical forests, but also mangroves and dry, open coastal areas.


Common iguana is a fairly large lizard, the length of the body together with the host usually reaches 1. 5 m, although individuals are known to be more than 2 m long and weighing over 8 kg. On average, the mass of males is about 4 kg, and females - from 1.2 to 3 kg. The weight of cubs when hatching from eggs is about 12 g, the length varies from 17 to 25 cm.

Contrary to the name, the color of this iguana is not necessarily green and depends on the age of the animal and the area where it lives. In different parts of the range, they can be bluish and blue, lavender and black, pink, orange and even red.

The body is thin, the tail is very long and laterally compressed. A large longitudinal crest is clearly visible on the back and tail, protecting the animal from enemies. The head is tetrahedral, covered with shields. There is a large pouch on the throat, which plays an important role in thermoregulation, as well as in the mating behavior of males. The teeth of the iguana are very sharp, wide and flat with small denticles along the edges. They are located on the inside of the jaw bones, so they are difficult to see, especially in young and medium-sized individuals. The name of one of the fossil lizards is associated with the shape of the iguana's teeth. When the teeth of some ancient reptile were found in the 19th century, researchers attributed it to a giant iguana based on the shape of the teeth and named it iguanodon (iguanotooth). Later it turned out that there was no close relationship between these reptiles, but the name remained.

Feet are short with long toes and sharp claws; both fore and hind legs have 5 fingers. Like most lizards, escaping from enemies, iguanas discard their tail, which then grows back.

The green iguana has excellent eyesight, but only in bright light, at nightfall, the vision of this lizard noticeably deteriorates.

Like most other lizards, the iguana has retained a "third eye" - a rudimentary organ located on the top of its head. It is located in a special hole between the frontal and parietal bones of the skull and is covered with a large scale, translucent in the central part. This rudimentary organ does not have a visual function, apparently, it plays a certain role in synchronizing the daily rhythm of the body during the change of day and night in nature, as well as in orienting the animal in space.

The hearing of the common iguana is very fine, but its acuteness depends on the ambient temperature. At the same time, the ideal temperature is +370, and when it is significantly increased or decreased, hearing deteriorates, especially in the upper range.

Lifestyle and behavior

Green iguanas spend most of their lives in trees, and they are active only during the daytime. On cool nights, reptiles sit on thick branches in the middle and lower tiers of the forest, and with the sunrise they try to climb higher, where they warm themselves for a long time, freezing on a branch. The sun's rays increase body temperature, and under the influence of ultraviolet radiation, vitamin D is produced, which aids digestion. Only after warming up well for several hours, iguanas begin to actively feed. In inclement or cool weather, iguanas stay on the ground, keeping their internal heat.

In the event of a fall from a tree, even from a height of 10-15 meters (which happens quite rarely), iguanas do not break. Falling, they try to cling to the foliage with the claws of the hind limbs.

Iguanas have many enemies in nature: birds of prey and mammals, crocodiles, large snakes. However, in reality, adult large individuals successfully avoid danger. The protective coloration of lizards and their protective behavior contribute to salvation from enemies. In case of danger, most often the iguana flees or, rushing into the water, quickly swims away. During active defense, the lizard inflates the throat pouch and the whole body, hisses and makes head attacks towards the enemy. If such threats do not help, iguanas may bite hard or beat their tail hard.


Common iguanas are exclusively herbivorous, eating the leaves, shoots, flowers and fruits of about 100 species of tropical plants. They cannot chew food, but only cut large enough pieces of plants and immediately swallow them whole. They rarely drink water, while immersing part of the head in water.


Green iguanas become sexually mature in nature at the age of 3-4 years. The start of the breeding season usually occurs in January or February, but depends on the specific habitat.

During the mating season, which lasts about 2 weeks, males choose the place where mating will take place, mark the territory with secretions from special pores located on the limbs, and become aggressive towards potential rivals. However, in nature, real fights between males are rare, weaker males prefer to “leave the battlefield”. The display behavior of the male is often shaking his head, swelling the throat pouch and changing the color to a brighter one. This type of iguana is characterized by a combination of polygyny and polyandry, i.e. A male can mate with multiple females and a female can mate with multiple males.

Pregnancy lasts 65 days. By the end of this period, females leave their usual habitats and move to dry sandbars and dunes. There, in the sand, they dig holes from 45 cm to 1 m deep, where they lay 20 to 70 eggs. Iguana eggs are white, 35-40 mm long, covered with a leathery soft but dense shell. The process of laying eggs by the female lasts 3 or more days. Sometimes several females lay eggs in one hole. After laying eggs, the female digs in a hole and leaves, no longer caring about the offspring.

Incubation lasts from 90 to 120 days at an ambient temperature of 30-32o C. The young are born usually in May, breaking through the shell with a special growth on the forehead. The cub that has come to the surface is similar in shape and color to an adult iguana, only the crest on its back is smaller. The brood stays together during the first year of life.


In nature, common iguanas live for about 8 years, in captivity they can live up to 20 years.

Green iguanas do well in zoos and breed if they are given favorable conditions. Spacious greenhouses with tropical vegetation are ideal conditions for keeping iguanas. In the Moscow Zoo, enclosures with running water are specially equipped for them, where they can climb, bask under a lamp, or hide in a secluded place. Iguanas have repeatedly bred here, and now these lizards can be seen not only at the main exposition of the Terrarium (New Territory), but also at the permanent Reptile Exhibition located in the Old Territory. There are also iguanas in mixed expositions of other departments of the zoo, such as the Exotarium.

Captive iguanas are fed 3 times a week. Their diet is very rich and includes cereals, a variety of vegetables and fruits, as well as a small amount of protein food of animal origin (bird eggs, cottage cheese).

Green iguana or common iguana (lat. Iguana iguana) is a large lizard from the iguana family, feeding on vegetation and leading an arboreal lifestyle. Despite their size, lizard lovers often keep the green iguana at home.

The common iguana is found throughout tropical and subtropical North and South America. Mexico can be called the homeland, and further south, through Central America to Paraguay and Argentina. They were also brought to southern Florida, where they took root.

There are differences in appearance, depending on the habitat. The iguana that lives in South America is called Iguana iguana iguana, and tolerates cold weather much worse, unlike the iguana that lives in Central America - Iguana iguana rhinolopha. Some iguanas from Central America have horns on their muzzles that range from subtle to 3-4 cm long. All subspecies are now combined into one species: Iguana iguana.

Habitat - tropical rain forests, thickets along rivers. They spend most of their time on trees, and in case of danger they can jump into the water.

Dimensions and life expectancy

Large lizards, can reach a maximum size of 1.5 meters in length, and weigh more than 9 kg. Moreover, males are larger than females, which rarely reach a size of 130 cm. Also, a sexually mature male green iguana has a larger crest on its back.

With good care, the domestic green iguana can live 15 to 20 years in captivity.

Keeping an iguana at home is quite difficult if you live in an ordinary apartment. A 200 liter terrarium is enough for a baby or teenager green iguana, up to 45 cm long. However, this volume is enough for acclimatization, because if you immediately put the baby in a huge terrarium, it will not be easy for him to find food and water. It is also easier to tame the lizard to yourself, so a small terrarium at the initial stage is better than a spacious one.
But for an adult green iguana, a VERY spacious terrarium is needed. This graceful baby will grow very quickly and can grow into a 1.5 meter dinosaur, which the average fan simply has nowhere to keep.

An adult domestic green iguana needs an aviary rather than a terrarium. At least 3.5 meters long, 1.8 wide and high. A height of 1.8 meters is very important, since in nature they mainly live in trees. A simple rule of thumb is that the enclosure should be at least twice as long as the iguana and as wide as it is long. In addition, do not forget that it is impossible to keep two male green iguanas in the same enclosure, otherwise they will fight.


It is best not to use substrate, or use a coarse fraction. The fact is that iguanas in the process of feeding can swallow part of the soil and die because of this. This is especially true for babies. If you notice that in the process of hunting they capture the ground, then it is better to remove it from the terrarium.

Lighting and heating

Green iguanas need a very warm climate and the same conditions need to be recreated at home. For juveniles, one heating llama is enough, but for adult iguanas, there are already at least six llamas so that they can warm their entire body. In addition, paired with lamps for heating, you need to use UV lamps. Ultraviolet light is needed for the lizard to produce vitamin D and absorb calcium. Otherwise, it will lead to diseases and deformation of the skeleton. The Repti Glo 5.0 lamp from Exo-Terra is a good fit.

The enclosure should have a heating point, with a temperature of at least 40 C. The heat source should be located above the iguana, this will help the iguana regulate its body temperature. The fact is that in an ordinary iguana, at the top of the head, behind the eyes, there is a “third eye” organ that is responsible for controlling movement, changing light and darkness. It is needed for two purposes - to respond to danger (from above, birds of prey) and to regulate body temperature.

Of course, part of the enclosure must be cool, so that the common iguana at home can choose places with higher and lower temperatures. A warm corner with a temperature of about 40 degrees and a cool one with 27 degrees. It is very important that she could regulate her own body temperature by moving between these places. And with its size, and the terrarium should be appropriate.

Do not use any heat sources that heat from below. These can be rugs, stones and heated decor. The fact is that the iguana does not recognize them as a heating point, and gets overheated and burns. The paws and stomach are especially affected, up to the death of the lizard.


Water must always be available. Be aware that small iguanas may not recognize the drinker. So they need to be sprayed daily and bathed twice a week to make sure they don't suffer from dehydration. If you already have a teenager, then spraying him will also not be harmful, as well as bathing. For adults, if possible, place a body of water large enough for them to swim in. In nature, green iguanas live near water and are excellent swimmers.


Green iguanas are exclusively herbivores, in nature they eat vegetation and fruits of trees. At home, they eat dandelions, zucchini, cucumbers, turnips, cabbage, lettuce. Fruits can be given no more than once a week, as abundant feeding causes diarrhea.

Preparing food for small iguanas is slightly different than feeding adults. When you cut the food, you need to grind it into pieces that they can swallow without problems. Remember that common iguanas do not chew their food, but swallow it whole.

In addition to vegetable foods, you can also feed commercial ones, which provide the lizards with everything they need. Their disadvantage is the price, whatever one may say, and ordinary greens come out cheaper.
Be sure to give calcium supplements, about once a week. And under no circumstances should you feed green iguanas with protein foods! This will lead to the death of the lizard.


Young green iguanas do not usually bite, but avoid excessive contact until they are accustomed to their new home. They can become smart pets, unlike snakes and other reptiles. The fact is that iguanas recognize their owners and show individuality with them.

But don't buy iguanas on impulse! The babies are cute looking, small and people buy them as a toy. And then they grow and problems begin, since this is a living and rather specific creature. If you've read this article and still want an iguana, chances are you'll be able to keep one successfully.

Jan 21, 2015 admin

Green iguana: maintenance, care, feeding, reproduction

Iguana, like the chameleon, is most often found as a pet. All lovers of the exotic at least once thought to get an iguana. If cats and dogs do not impress you either, then why not turn your attention to this beautiful reptile? The chameleon, of course, can at least catch flies, but the iguana is beautiful. And after reading this article, you might want to get yourself one. Here you will learn everything about the habits, behavior, feeding, keeping and breeding of iguanas in order to properly prepare for the purchase of a new pet.


The common iguana is large. On average, this lizard grows up to one and a half meters, and its weight is about 3-4 kg (females are slightly smaller). Even the young after hatching from the egg are about 20 cm long.

Although the iguana is called green, its color is not always so. Coloring largely depends on the age and area where the lizard lives. They are purple, blue, pink, black - the list is far from complete.

The iguana has a long thin body and the same tail, flattened on the sides. Like most lizards, she can shed her tail to protect herself from enemies, and then grow it back. She has a large crest on her back that stretches all over her body. It is used to protect against predators in the wild. There are shields on the head, and a bag on the throat, which is needed for temperature regulation and mating rituals. The iguana has strong, wide and very sharp teeth. All four paws of the iguana are equipped with five fingers with sharp claws. She also has very good eyesight, but only during the day. She sees much worse at night.

Common iguana

Like many lizards, the iguana has a so-called "third eye", also called the parietal. This is a rudimentary organ on the head, which is needed to regulate the daily rhythm of the body. Most likely, it also helps the lizard to navigate in space.

The iguana's hearing is quite acute, but may change with temperature. Ideally, maintain around +37°C - sudden changes, especially warmer temperatures, can significantly impair hearing.


Iguana mating season lasts approximately two weeks. At this time, males select a place for mating and mark the territory. Their behavior changes to be more aggressive towards other males. It rarely comes to a direct confrontation, since a weaker opponent often prefers to leave someone else's territory than to fight. The male, ready for breeding, changes color to a brighter one and begins to inflate the bag around his neck. After mating, the female carries the eggs for a little over two months. After that, they dig a hole in the sand, where they place the masonry. At one time, she can lay from 20 to 70 eggs. Then the pit is dug in, and the future offspring remains on its own.

Reproduction Iguanas

In this form, the eggs can lie for another 3-4 months until they hatch. Then the cubs break through the shell and come out. Outwardly, they are almost no different from adults, except that they have a not so large crest. Caring for offspring is not a hallmark of iguanas, so little lizards take care of themselves. Immediately after birth, they are quite able to get their own food, although they often have a special yolk sac with a nutrient mixture that helps them live for a week or even two. During the first year, the entire brood keeps together, helping each other. Males even protect females from predators by covering them with their bodies. This behavior of all reptiles is characteristic only of iguanas. They live mostly for about 8 years in the wild, and in captivity and all 20.

What to feed?

Green iguanas feed mainly on plants or ripe fruits of trees. At times, they can even eat meat or small insects. Due to the presence of sharp teeth, lizards can bite off food in pieces and swallow, practically without chewing.

Baby iguanas can sometimes even feed on the faeces of adults to get the microflora they need.

For the first three years of life, the iguana consumes a lot of dietary protein to help it grow. At this time, they can be given insects and spiders. Older individuals mostly sit on a leaf diet.

Food Iguanas

Like all reptiles, iguanas are cold-blooded. Their body temperature is completely dependent on the ambient temperature. If it's too cold around, the iguana will not eat well. Active food intake occurs mainly at 25-35 degrees Celsius. Also, iguanas may refuse to eat before and during molting. Females do not always eat in the later stages of pregnancy. Sick or stressed animals also often refuse to eat.

Iguana diseases

Diseases of these lizards develop with little or no symptoms. They appear only at an extreme stage, when it is already very difficult to cure the animal. The most common iguana disease is a fungus. The lizard has unusual dot colors and scaly spots.

Iguanas can also become parasitic due to poor food or dirty water. In addition, reptiles are prone to colds and even pneumonia. Inappropriate food can provoke inflammation of the stomach or metabolic disorders.

Iguana lizard

How to set up a terrarium

Iguanas love heat and can't stand cold at all. Therefore, if you decide to get yourself this reptile, take care of creating suitable conditions for it. The ideal temperature is 30-40 degrees Celsius. Anything lower will be detrimental to the lizard, so you'll need a heater to keep it warm.

Also place an ultraviolet lamp over the terrarium so that the iguana receives not only heat but also light. So he will feel better and will always be in a good mood.

In addition to warmth, iguanas love humidity, so provide a small pool of clean drinking water for your terrarium. This will allow the lizard not only to bask in the water, but also to drink, as they say, without leaving the cash register.

A standard drinker may also be needed, but the animal will have to be tamed to it. It will rather lick condensation from the walls of the terrarium, so you can spray them occasionally. Also, when you give fruit to the lizard, wash it, and then spray it with plenty of water again.

Terrarium soil is not needed at all. Iguanas are very curious and will not disdain to taste pebbles and sand. An artificial grass mat or a regular bath mat is suitable as a cover.

Also provide the animal with driftwood and other decorations that it can climb on.

Terrarium for Iguanas

Among other things, the iguana needs good ventilation. This is a very important point, because without proper air circulation, the lizard will start to get sick. The holes in the lid will not fit, you need a large ventilation slot with a mesh.

Place the terrarium itself in the quietest room, where the iguana will not be bothered by your other pets, with whom he definitely does not get along.

Interesting facts about iguanas