The Top 4 Things You Need To Know Before Getting An Iguana

 The Top 4 Things You Need To Know Before Getting An Iguana

Do iguanas make great pets?


Iguanas are a very popular pet to have for experienced reptile owners. Iguanas require a strict diet and need to be handled properly to prevent any aggression. Iguanas can make great pets with proper socialization, and they can be a part of your life for up to 12-20 years. 


1. Temperament


Iguanas can be very temperamental if they are not handled properly. In captivity, iguanas will need to be picked up regularly in order to get used to being held.


Regular handling is a way to tame them. Even though they can become docile, iguanas are known to try and escape their owners if they are out of their cages. They won’t always recognize their owners as well.


Baby iguanas are skittish at first and will run away from people. As they get older and become bigger, they can be lazy and calmer around people. This can only happen if they have been handled regularly.


If you have been to a reptile expo, you’ve seen a couple of people walk around with their iguana clinging on to them. These owners spent a lot of time and energy interacting with their iguanas. 


Iguanas have very sharps claws that can be painful if scratched. Wear protective or thick clothing to avoid getting cut from their nails.


Iguanas also use their tails for defense. It is very painful to be whipped by an iguana tail. Their tails are strong enough to break human bones when they become adults. For this reason, small children and other household pets should not be left unattended with iguanas. 


2. Enclosures


Iguanas will grow to be around 7 feet long and weigh up to 20 pounds. A small enclosure will not work for very long with an iguana.


Many owners will need to build a custom-sized enclosure to fit the needs of their iguana. The appropriately sized enclosure for a full-grown iguana is about 8×6 feet and around 8 feet deep. This can be the size of a closet or small room.


Apartment life is not ideal for housing an iguana. It is recommended that you have a house with a lot of yard space to have an iguana. Many apartment complexes will not allow exotic animals to be housed on the property as well.


3. Diet


Iguanas need to be on a strict diet because they can get kidney failure from eating too much protein. In the wild, iguanas eat plant matter and insects.


People used to feed their iguanas cat food, which is too much protein for iguanas. They are strictly herbivores. You can feed your iguana greens, fruit, and use some sort of calcium supplement once a week. 


Baby iguanas eat every day and adults will eat every other day. Avoid feeding your iguana protein. They also need fresh water every day.

4. Health Concerns


Iguanas, just like other reptiles, can carry salmonella. A clean enclosure and proper hygiene practices can prevent people from getting bacteria.


It is recommended that small children, pregnant women, and sick persons have limited contact with iguanas because of health risks. Always wash your hands after handling an iguana and keep their cages clean.

Wrapping Up


Iguanas are fun pets to have for experienced adults with plenty of room for housing. It is not recommended to have very young children around iguanas due to safety and health concerns.


When handled properly, they can be very docile creatures. Avoid using any protein in their diets and they will live a long and healthy 12-20 years.

Jade Messieh

Proud bearded dragon, tortoise, crested gecko, and green tree python mom. I've always been passionate about animals and hope to help other reptile & amphibian enthusiasts along their journey!

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