There are many people who want to own pets that are different and exotic―iguanas being one of the most popular choices. One needs to make sure that they know all about pet iguana care if they're considering getting one and taking responsibility of the same. The following sections deal with the varied aspects of iguana care and the factors involved in the same.
Iguanas are huge reptiles that are a part of the lizard family and are native to South and Central America, making it their natural habitat. One is able to recognize an iguana due to its characteristic crest that runs from its head to the spine. Its scaly body is another physical feature that cannot be missed. Iguanas can be of several kinds namely the green iguana, blue iguana, desert iguana, and the Lesser Antillean iguana. These iguanas might make for interesting pets but they need to be cared for in a very specialized manner. A failure to do this can lead to trauma and death of the pet.
Different iguanas have different personalities. While some are mellow, others can get really dangerous when it comes to an unfamiliar environment. Make sure that you do not put them in a situation that is unfamiliar and overwhelming for them or they might attack, especially the males. They need to get familiar with you so spend at least 2 - 3 minutes holding them and stroking their backs.
Cut their nails from time to time because these can administer some nasty injuries. Along with that, bathe your iguana thrice a week in lukewarm water.
Keep minimum contact with their face because their saliva has several harmful bacteria. Similarly, do not provoke them as they might bite or lash their tails at you.
Iguanas are herbivores, therefore their feeding techniques have to be specialized. Include plenty of vegetables in their diet. Vegetables like mustard, turnip, and collard should make up for 80% of their diet. 5% of their diet should also include fruits and peppers. Supply the iguana with more calcium than phosphorus, but never overfeed it. Provide for clean and fresh water and change it regularly to prevent infection. Do not feed iguanas animal proteins because it's very harmful for them.
Regular exposure to the sun's rays is the best way to provide for vitamin D for your iguana. But if that is not a possibility, then fitting in of UVA and UVB light sources is absolutely necessary. Use fluorescent light bulbs which are especially prepared for reptiles to be supplied with UVB and UVA lights. Replace these every 6 - 12 months. It is important to provide equal and direct light, so don't use any sort of filtering system for the same.
Many don't take into consideration the growing patterns of the iguana and therefore fail to provide for the correct form of accommodation for them. Nothing less than a 55 gallon aquarium should be provided for the iguana. This is because, by the time the iguana is 5 years old, it'll be about 5 feet in length. That is why start off with a huge cage or bird aviary if possible. You can even have a custom-made framed enclosure to support your iguana. Many owners have even devoted an entire room for the purpose. Make sure there is a lot of floor area for the iguanas to roam about. If possible, provide them with vertical climbing space so that it duplicates the action of climbing trees for them.
Iguanas are cold blooded, and the artificial conditions that you provide for them do not allow them the heat that they would have otherwise got from the sun. You therefore need to provide them with a heat source that has a temperature of 90 degrees F and heats a larger area at one time. Do not go in for heat rocks as there is a high risk that the iguanas will burn themselves on them. More importantly, you need to provide them with areas that are full of shade within their enclosure so that they can cool off when their body is warm enough. The enclosure should therefore contain several areas that alternate between shade and light.
Even though your need to get an exotic pet might be primal, this care sheet must have given you an idea of the extensive care that is required to be given to them. So if you do not think you're capable of providing the kind of care that is required, do not get yourself an iguana. Many iguanas in captivity have lived under a year due to less care and negligence on the part of their owners.