Are you looking to own a unique and beautiful type of pet outside of the usual dog or cat spectrum? Our Kingman exotic pet vets share some important information you should know about iguanas before you commit to caring for one.
Did you know that there are several different species of iguana found in nature? Some are named based on their location and others are named after the color of their skin. One thing that most iguanas have in common though is the degree of difficulty when it comes to their care. Iguanas have a very specific set of requirements when it comes to every aspect of their care. Iguanas can be difficult to train and require a specific habitat and diet. This is one pet that you should fully research before you should consider bringing one home.
The Iguana Temperment
To help your pet iguana feel comfortable with you and your home you should regularly pick up and handle them. This will help them learn that they can trust you. This can be a difficult task when it comes to your pet iguana as they commonly distrust us in general and would rather be left alone. This will get better the more time you spend interacting with them.
Some iguanas thrive on contact with their human resulting in you becoming a living jungle gym. If this is the case for your pet iguana then you should be sure to wear protective clothing. The tail of an adult iguana is strong enough to break a human bone. When handling them, pay alert to any struggling or hostility, especially if youngsters or other pets are present.
Health Concerns That Affect Iguanas
Reptiles commonly carry salmonella, and pet iguanas are no exception. you must remember to thoroughly wash your hands both before and after you touch your pet iguana and never touch your face if you have been handling them. special measures should be taken if you have young children, seniors, pregnant women, or immunocompromised persons in your house.
Iguanas can be tamed with adequate daily care, but they have a strong self-defense drive and will bite, scratch, and whip their tails if challenged.
Kidney disease, which is commonly caused by dehydration, is a common health issue for iguanas. If your iguana is lethargic, has to swell on its body, and is drinking or urinating regularly, take it to an exotic pet vet right away.
Fresh food makes up an integral part of a pet iguana's diet. If they consume high levels of protein it can lead to kidney disorders. In the wild all iguanas are herbivores and avoid all forms of protein, bugs included.
In addition to a high-quality pelleted commercial meal, give your iguana some fruit and a calcium supplement. Furthermore, iguanas require constant access to fresh water. Your exotic and avian pet vet will be able to provide you with dietary directions for your pet iguana based on their nutritional needs.
Because iguanas ingest their food whole without chewing, everything you serve must be diced or shredded into tiny pieces.
Habitat Built For an Iguana
If you purchased a baby iguana to start then you may be surprised to learn that iguanas can grow to be up to 7 feet long when their tail is included, and they typically weigh around 20 pounds. This means that the tiny starter tanks or cages won't last long!
You may have a difficult time finding appropriate housing for your iguana in standard pet stores. A suitable enclosure for a single iguana measures around 12 feet in length, 6 feet wide, and 8 feet tall to accommodate their preference for climbing trees. Many iguana owners prefer custom-built enclosures with ramps, shelves, and climbable branches. Many people may even transform a full room or a large closet into an iguana's habitat.
To digest its meal, the iguana requires a temperature of roughly 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat lamps normally placed less than a foot away from basking ledges, can be used to achieve an ideal temperature. The iguana likes to bask at 95 degrees Fahrenheit, and its habitat should not be colder than 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Use UVB reptile lights to offer adequate light exposure for 10 to 12 hours every day. Mercury vapor bulbs are appropriate for big enclosures or rooms. Your iguana will be able to bask in these lights thanks to the large branches and shelves in the enclosure.
Iguanas require at least 70% humidity in their surroundings. You can make your iguana's habitat more humid by adding a pool of water to the enclosure or using a mister. Misting your iguana twice a day is generally recommended to enhance humidity and preserve healthy skin.
Your exotic pet vet in Kingman will be able to help to choose an enclosure that your pet iguana will be happy with.
What Are Some of The Pros and Cons of Owning an Iguana?
Here, our exotic pet vets list some of the pros and cons you should consider before keeping an Iguana as a pet.
Pro: Iguanas Have a Long Lifespan
If cared for properly, iguanas can easily live for more than 20 years. If you are committed to the health and care of your pet iguana then you should expect them to live about this long.
Con: Caring For an Iguana Can Be Pricey
The living conditions that an iguana needs to thrive are quite specific, be prepared to shell out a good amount of money on the setup. They will require a terrarium that is large enough to accommodate their final size, as well as appropriate lighting, humidity, and temperature conditions. Not to mention the costly appointments with a vet who specializes in exotic animals. If there's any reason for you to feel as though you may not be able to make a 20 year commitment to a pet such as this then you should consider choosing a different companion.
Pro: Iguanas Eat Many of The Same Fruits and Veggies You Do
Iguanas eat leaves, fruits, flowers, and vegetables in the wild, and this entirely herbivorous diet must be mimicked in captivity. Iguanas do not drink much water in the wild because the greens they eat and the humidity in their surroundings keep them hydrated. We recommend consulting with your exotic pet veterinarian for a more specific nutrition regimen for your pet iguana.
Con: Iguanas Are Notoriously Difficult to Train
If your iguana is exceptionally resistant, taming it can take YEARS. If you don't have the patience to wait so long, there are many more docile lizards available. You can work on feeding your pet iguana by hand which will help them recognize that you are not a threat to them.
Pro: They Will Be Awake When You are
If you enjoy observing iguanas, it's preferable if they're awake at the same time as you. Iguanas are diurnal species, meaning they wake up with the sun. In the wild, they can be found basking in the sun on a tree branch.
Con: You shouldn't Own an Iguana if You Have Children
Iguanas have powerful jaws and will bite if they feel threatened. Rapid or unexpected movements can shock an iguana, and toddlers can be fidgety. If an iguana feels threatened and decides to strike, its powerful tail can cause significant harm. So, if you have especially young children, you might want to hold off on the iguana for now.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.