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Green iguanas Care Sheets
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Care Sheet for Iguanas

Average Rating Given To This Care Sheet Is 3.18    (1=lowest, 5=highest)    Last Updated: 04/19/2003

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 Care Sheet Submitted By:

Flavia Guimaraes

Years Experience:

3 to 5 Years


Green iguanas

Other Species or Phases this Care Sheet May Cover:


Sexing and Characteristics:

It is very difficult to sex a green iguana until it reaches at leat 2 years old, even more. Although males have larger jowls, larger femoral pores (inside the thighs), larger fat deposits on their heads, sometimes males that are caged with more aggressive males can display feminine characteristics to avoid fights.

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Substrate and Water Needs:

Iguanas do drink water! I recommend 2 water bowls inside your igís cage.A smaller one for drinking, placed near his preferred basking point and a larger one, big enough for it to go inside to defecate and to refresh. Iguanas like to poop/pee inside the water so you must change it frequently!
As a substrate i use 100% pure pine shavings with chlorophyll.To avoid ingestion (yes, iguanas, like children, put in their mouths everything they see) i separated the shavings from the bottom of the cage with a grill. I can use pine without problem because as i live in a very hot and humid country (Malaysia) i raise my igs outdoors, in huge birds cages, with lots of ventilation. Although i use pine shavings i dont recommend them for igs caged indoors because some pine shavings can have phenol fumes which can irritate the igsí lungs.

Lighting and UVB:

As i live in a very hot (around 90F the whole year) and humid country (around 95%) i dont use artificial lights, only real sunlight as a source of heat and UBA, UVB rays. I keep my 4 adult males outdoors, all year long, and my 3 juvies indoors near big opened windows.

Temperatures and Humidity:

Iguanas are cold blood animals so they need heat to be able to digest the food. If they are not warm enough, the food will deteriorate inside its body and the toxins can even kill the animal. As an ideal temperature i would say from 80 until 90F. If iguanas need heat to thermoregulate its body they can also overheat very easily.So never let your ig in the sun without supervision. When iguanas are too hot they open its mouth like a dog (panting).If their body doesnt cool off immediately, they will start to have convulsions and will die. Iguanas, mainly baby iguanas, sometimes can stay in the sun for too, long until they die even if they have the option to go to the shadow. This happens because they are not used to its cage or to its new habitat. I dont believe this could happen in the rain forest, the natural habitat of green iguanas. So, be extra careful when your ig is in the sun!

Heating and Equipment:

As i said before i dont use artificial heating.My igs are caged in huge coated wire birds cages with several platforms for them to rest. I dont use hiding boxes because my igs are caged alone so they dont need these boxes.Iguanas love to observe the world around them, mainly what is going on outdoors, so if you keep your ig indoors, place its cage in front of a window and in a busy room. Although TV and Radio can upset an iguana, because of its very sensitive hearing, they can get used to it. But it will be a good idea to cover its cage during the night. Iguanas are very smart and sensitive animals and they want and deserve to be part of the family!Dont put your iguana in a cold garage without nothing to see and where any interaction will be rare.

Caging Provided:

As i said before i keep my adult igs in huge wire coated cages.My 4 males are caged in 7x3x6 Feet cages.Iguanas love to climb and they feel safe being on a high shelf. My juvies i keep in smaller birds cage because they can pass through my huge cage bars.



Description of Diet:

Although some old books and some salesmen from bad petshops say iguanas eat insects, it has been proved that iguanas in the wild are herbivorous.So if you want your iguana to thrive and to have a long and healthy life dont feed it animal protein. Any type of animal protein. Igs need to eat greens rich in calcium like collards greens, mustard greens, dandelion greens and flowers, green onions, escarole, turnip greens. carrot tops, parsley, leeks and vegetables like green beans, yellow wax beans, zucchini, yellow squash, sweet bell peppers, sprouts, peas, celery, etc...They can also eat fruits like mango, papaya, melon, blackberries , apples, etc...and grain based foods like bread (whole grain-no white), rice and pasta. Both must contribute to only 0.4% to 4% to the overall diet. They can eat also flowers like hibiscus but be careful with the pesticides.

Supplements, Nutrition and Usage:

I dont give any vitamins or calcium in powder to my igs but in all its cages i put a piece of cuttlebone and i have already seen them eating it.


Their maintenance is very easy and cheap if you live in friendly weather country but can be very expensive and complicated if you live in cold weather country.

Some Words on this Species:

Iguanas are hardy animals and can live more than 25 years if well cared.They need love and attention and can make wonderful pets. Iguanas are not difficult to tame and can be potty trained very easily, too. Although they have sharp claws and a powerful tail they will not use them as deffensive weapons against you (if they love and respect you). The only real problem i have found until now regarding my iguanas is their behavior during the breeding season. During the breeding season even the most tame and sweet male can turn into a green monster and attack every one in the house, including you.As breeding season doesnt last forever the only thing that can be done is to lock your iguana in his cage and wait until the breeding season is over. During this period be extra careful because the iguana will bite you if he has the opportunity and his bite can destroy your or your kidís face!
I ve been raising iguanas since 1999. and although i have already had several iguanas only one, my older male, Godzilla, who is around 7 years old had a very bad breeding season and needed to be grounded.
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The information contain in these care sheets represents only the opinions and husbandry care of members and therefore is not guaranteed to be 100% accurate or reflects the advice or opinions of It is always advised to seek additional information or the advice of a qualified veterinarian or qualified reptile dealer. It is also advisable for you to a good amount of research before implementing any of the ideas and care described in these care sheets. We also recommend you ask many questions in their related forums before acting on any information.

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