home > learning center > so you wanna iguana?

So you wanna Iguana?

Did You Know?
The Green Iguana is a South American species of lizard that reaches an adult size of 4 to 6 feet in length and can live for over 15 years. Iguanas kept in small cages will still grow large. They do not stay small (like a goldfish in a bowl). Anyone who obtains an iguana should be prepared to take care of a large powerful lizard.

Did You Know?
When juvenile iguanas become sexually mature, their temperament changes. Adult Iguanas usually become territorial and aggressive. During certain times of the year they attack anyone who approaches them, even their owners. It does not matter how much you have handled the lizard previously. Adults have razor sharp claws, sandpaper rough skin, sharp numerous teeth, powerful crushing jaws, and a muscular whip-like tail. They can be quite formidable and inflict injuries requiring medical attention.

Did You Know?
Iguanas should be housed separately. They don’t get “lonely” and need a buddy. In the wild they fight and intimidate each other constantly to stake territory. Multiple iguanas in the same cage will eventually result in an injury to one of the animals. In the wild the loser can escape. In a cage he or she cannot.

Did You Know?
Iguanas should not roam loose in a house or apartment (No reptile should)! This is not healthy for the lizard or the owner. Iguanas require high ambient air temperatures (85 to 100 degrees F) and high humidity for proper health. A hot rock on the floor, or a window sill facing the sun is not enough to meet their needs. Your house is not a rainforest. Often, they will eat various indigestible items around the house. Intestinal blockage from carpet fibers can cause death for iguanas that are kept loose in a house.

Did You Know?
A cage for an adult iguana should be at least 6 ft tall by 6 ft wide by 4 ft deep with climbing branches or shelves. You will need special lighting and heating built into the design. An aquarium just won’t cut it (the aquariums sold as “Lizard Lounge’s” are unsuitable for iguanas). So get ready to spend some money custom building a cage.

Did You Know?
The diet of an iguana is herbivorous and very complex. Commercial iguana diets can be a supplement but should not feed exclusively. Fresh leafy greens and vegetables should be the staple. They eat large quantities and defecate large quantities every day. If not fed a proper diet they have costly health problems.

Did You Know?
Because of the above difficulties the Green Iguana usually only survive a few years as a pet. Those which live longer are often discarded once they become aggressive, need a larger cage, or require expensive veterinary care. The KCHS Reptile Adoption Program receives weekly calls from people who want to get rid of iguanas. Most never get new homes.

Be Responsible.
The Green Iguana is a truly spectacular and interesting lizard. They also are a demanding, difficult, and expensive animal to keep. Do not buy them as a child’s pet. If you are positively prepared to handle all of the above eventualities then you might consider adopting an iguana. Otherwise pick a species that is much easier to care for such as a Bearded Dragon, Crested Gecko or a Leopard Gecko.