There are many species of Iguana which originate in different environments in the wild. The most common species of Iguana in the pet trade is Iguana Iguana.
Iguana Iguana come from Mexico and South, Central America. Due to the location of their origin, Iguanas enjoy a hot, humid environment with a high level of UVB.
Although Iguanas start off small like many lizards, they do grow to large sizes of 5-7ft including the tail so prospective buyers should ensure they are able to house an adult iguana when the time comes.
Iguanas are beautiful, intelligent, and intriguing animals, but they are also powerful and have sharp claws and a very strong tail which they use defensively. Keepers should be aware that we recommend Iguanas as Intermediate to Advanced pets.
HOUSING YOUR IGUANA
Due to their size, Iguanas require a very large and often custom made enclosure as adults. They require a big space to move around in which should ideally be at least 6ft wide by 6ft high.
As hatchling and juveniles, a smaller arboreal tank can be used, this must be upgraded as your pet grows.
Iguanas are arboreal lizards meaning they like to climb in trees, so the enclosure should be tall instead of terrestrial.
Iguanas enjoy a hot and humid climate so a thick layer of humidity retaining substrate should be used. This can be sprayed daily to retain moisture. Humidity should be around 70-80%. Iguanas can only see moving water and so they should be sprayed regularly or a dripper or mist system can be used.
Adding lots of plants to the enclosure allows your pet to drink from the water dripping from leaves following a spray, so ensure that the whole tank is sprayed.
A basking site should be provided through ceramic lamp or heat bulb, remember to supply decor which reaches the basking site. UVB is also required and decor to allow the animal to reach the correct level of UVB.
HANDLING YOUR IGUANA
Always wash your hands before and after handling an Iguana. Iguanas can carry salmonella so keeping things clean is important.
Iguanas are extremely intelligent pets who can be fast moving and skitty as juveniles. They are armed with long sharp claws and a strong tail which they whip as a defensive strategy. They are also able to drop their tales if they feel stressed. Handling carefully is important, we recommend doing this in an enclosed area with gloves for the first few months.
Iguanas should be worked with regularly in order to build a bond with their owner. They will often bond with one person in particular, that person will be able to handle the Iguana where it may be defensive towards others.
Gloves and hooks are good tools to use. Iguanas do not need to be handled but getting used to it whilst they are small makes cleaning and any travelling much easier in the future.
Genus, Species: Iguana iguana
Adult Size: 1.2-1.7m
Lifespan: 15-20 years
Ambient Temp (f): 80-85
Basking Temp (f): 100-120
Humidity (%): 70-80
Locality: South America Difficulty: 3
Breeding Age: 3-4 years
Social Structure: Live alone except breeding times.
SEXING YOUR IGUANA:
Iguanas can be hard to sex until they are around 12 months of age. Adult male iguanas are quite a bit larger than female iguanas, they also have longer spikes down their back.
Male Iguanas have larger jaws than females and also develop a dewlap under their chin which is a large flap of colourful skin. They also have large fermoral pores whereas females have smaller pores.
Eyes– Eyes are fully open and clear of stuck shed. Eyes are clear and not cloudy. Cloudy eyes can be the sign of an eye infection.
Skin– The skin is hydrated and there is not a lot of stuck shed. Older Iguanas can struggle to shed if the humidity is not high enough.
Limbs– All the limbs are moving correctly and the dragon is able to walk and move normally. Iguanas can suffer from a condition called MBD (metabolic bone disease). This occurs when they do not have enough calcium D3 and causes their bones to grow abnormally, eventually restricting their movements. MBD cannot be reversed so always dust food with calcium +d3.
Dehydration– As Iguanas require such humidity and spraying to keep drinking water available, it is easy for them to get dehydrated if they are not provided enough. Spray your iguana 2-4 times a day, more regularly on hotter days or use a mister, dripper or rain system.