Green Iguana Pet Care Sheet and Guide

Green iguana care

How big do iguanas grow?

Green iguana hatchlings average around nine inches including the tail. And can triple its size in a year if properly cared for.

Green iguanas can grow up to 6 to 7 feet long and weigh around 20 pounds. Male green iguanas grow more than a female iguana. Female green iguana rarely exceeds 5 feet long.

Green iguana care

Juvenile and baby green iguana care sheet

When you are first starting out and you had a baby or juvenile green iguana, a 20-gallon aquarium is enough until they are about 18 inches long. This is a good size for them to learn that you are not a predator or threat to them

The “huge enclosure” might disorient your young iguana and might make it difficult for them to find their food and water.

As your green iguana grows thus also their requirement for a bigger cage. An adult green iguana needs a lot of space that normal hobbyist sometimes could not afford.

An enclosure with a size of 12 feet long by 6 feet wide by 6 feet high is recommended for an adult green iguana.

Green iguanas are arboreal in nature (means animals that live in trees) that is why the height of 6 feet is important. It is also imperative that your enclosure for both baby and adults contain plenty of climbing equipment. You can use “fake plants/trees” or construct ledges/shelves.

Green iguana care
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It is also important to note that you cannot house adult male iguanas in the same enclosure because they will fight.

What temperature does an iguana need?

Green iguanas need a lot of heat. A hot spot of at least 120 degrees Fahrenheit should be provided. The heat source should be located above the iguana. This will make the parietal eye engage.

Green iguana care
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“A parietal eye, also known as a third eye or pineal eye, is a part of the epithalamus present in some animal species. The eye is photoreceptive and is associated with the pineal gland, regulating circadian rhythmicity and hormone production for thermoregulation.” – Wikipedia

The parietal eye can detect light, dark and movement, which is very important for the green iguanas for thermoregulation purposes and to warn them of predators approaching from above, such as birds of prey.

Not all area of your green iguana cage should be hot, they should be able to choose a hotter and cool area from the cage for thermo-regulating purposes. There should be an area with a maximum of 120 degrees Fahrenheit and a lower are with a temperature around 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

The daytime temperature range should be between 80 F (26.6 C) and 88 F (31.1 C), with a basking spot of 95 F (34.9 C). Night time temperature should be between 75 F (23.8 C) and 80 F (26.6 C), young iguanas should be kept closer to the 80 F (26.6 C) range at night. You should also have a few “thermometers” placed throughout the cage to ensure that the temperatures are correct.

Hot rocks, heat pads, or any heat forms coming from the floor is prohibited. When using this source of heat, the green iguana’s parietal eye is not engaged and would burn their legs and stomach because they do not know how much heat they are getting.

Do iguanas need heat lamps?

Green iguana care
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Yes, like what I said earlier green iguana need a lot of heat. One heat bulb is enough for your baby green iguana, but as they grow into an adult green iguana, you would be needing a bank of at least six lights to be able to properly heat their entire body.

I use incandescent heat bulbs and fluorescent UV bulbs. UVA and UVB lights should be both provided to get maximum results. Metabolic bone disease is prevented by providing a strong UV fluorescent bulbs.

What do you feed a baby iguana?

Green iguana care
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Juvenile green iguana diet can be easily met with both raw and natural foods that you can buy in a supermarket and also the commercially available “Iguana food”. For me and because of my work location limitations of access to the commercially prepared iguana food, I feed my green iguana with natural raw vegetables like collard greens, yellow squash, Chinese white cabbage, moringa leaves, kangkong, and occasional fruits.

I limit the fruits I am feeding my green iguana because excessive fruit in their diet might lead to diarrhea.

Though baby green iguana and adult iguana green iguana eats the same type of food, they differ in preparation. For my juvenile green iguana I cut up raw vegetables into an appropriate size it can pick up and easily swallow whole. Green iguana doesn’t chew their food and swallow them in one piece.

I also add “calcium powder” to their food once a week. DON’T give your iguana a diet that is high in protein like mealworm. I made that fatal mistake when I was still young and first time to have a green iguana. I was really happy when I saw my juvenile green iguana eating them. At the same day, my baby green iguana turned brown and died.

The safe way to feed your green iguana is to give them 80% vegetable matter, 10% fruit, and 10% protein.

There should also water always available in their enclosure. Juvenile green iguanas may not be able to locate his water bowl, that’s why it is necessary that you spray them daily at least every 5 hours. Green iguanas live near water in the wild and excellent swimmers so I make it a point to place a water container large enough for my green iguana to soak.

Taming a green iguana

In general, baby green iguana doesn’t bite, but you should not handle them excessively until they get used to their new environment. Green iguana over time may become affectionate, and they make an intelligent and friendly pets.

Taming your iguana will depend on the time and effort you are willing to put forth in the process. I hand feed my green iguana because this is the best and fastest way to make it familiar to me and to tame it. You can see the video below of me hand feeding my green iguana.

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Resources:

reptilesmagazine.com

backwaterreptilesblog.com

triciaswaterdragon.com

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