How to care for your green iguana

Lizards have fascinated people for centuries. You’ve often heard tales of great dragons and such. It is not uncommon now for lizards to be pets. One of the most interesting and popular of these is the green iguana.

The green iguana can be purchased at most pet stores. Caring for one is not nearly as difficult as one might think. The three most important areas of concern are housing, feeding, and handling. We will discuss these below.

Housing: Most people keep their green iguana in a terrarium (a cage where herptiles are kept). Your terrarium should be large enough for your green iguana to be both comfortable and have enough room for the necessary supplies that your iguana needs. You must make absolutely sure that your terrarium is escape-proof! The floor of your terrarium should be covered with items that cannot be ingested by your pet.

Whatever you decide to use, just be sure to remember that it has to be removed and washed or thrown out and replaced regularly. Green iguanas enjoy climbing on logs or lounging on them while they bask in the sun. You can add logs and wood purchased from a pet store or even driftwood that has been thoroughly scrubbed, rinsed, and dried.

Green iguanas require large amounts of natural sunlight. It is essential for good health. You may also want to purchase an artificial light source from a pet store, (a UBV light that should be kept at least 12 to 18 inches close to the iguana and changed every six months), as well as a heat or basking lamp.

Feeding: Green iguanas simply adore greens such as turnip greens, collard greens, dandelion greens, mustard greens, turnips, kale, bok choy, and cilantro. You may also want to add a calcium supplement about once a week. Offer other fruits and vegetables in addition to the greens, such as carrots, apples, sweet peppers, etc. Just be sure that the main diet consists mostly of greens. It is imperative that a fresh supply of water be available to your iguana at all times. Clean and change the water dish daily.

Handling: Your iguana’s nails can get very long and may scratch you when you hold it. You may try getting her a good rough-barked limb, it will help to keep the nails worn down. The best advice that I have received when it comes to carrying your iguana is to drape a towel over your left forearm, turned over with the palm of your hand up.

Pick the iguana up by the back and set her on the towel with her snout facing toward the elbow. Hold the iguana close to the body with your right hand held firmly on her back. As your iguana grows larger it will learn to use its tail as a weapon. Be careful not to get whacked by the tail, it can hurt very badly.

As you spend more time with your iguana you will get a feel for what it likes and dislikes. Read up on it and learn as much as you possibly can. With the proper care and attention, your iguana can bring you happiness for years to come.

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