Iguanas are large lizards often kept as exotic pets. These cold blooded animals have specific caging requirements that help them regulate their body temperature accordingly. You need to provide them with proper ventilation, humidity, temperature and other things to help them live a stress free healthy life. Many pet owners commit a common mistake of bringing home their new pet, without ever understanding the basic requirement of iguana cages. This causes a lot of stress to their pets who tend to become uncomfortable and cold in their new surroundings.
Setting Up an Iguana Cage
Iguana cage setup is no child's play. You need to take into consideration the design, size and lighting factors related to the cage. We shall have a look at all these aspects and learn the best way to set up a cage for an iguana.
Iguana cage size is the first thing that you should consider. Iguanas can grow as big as 7 feet in length when mature. They also like living in a large space that allows them to move freely. If you bring home an iguana that is less than 3 years of age, then every year you need to add 2 feet to the iguana cage design. Thus, a young iguana that is around 6 months old, will require a 9 feet long cage. Keep adding 2 inches to the cage length, till it reaches 5 years of age. You can go in for a 50 to 100 gallon enclosure as a home for your reptilian pet.
The cage requires substrate that is completely safe and non-hazardous to the animal. Iguanas have the habit of flicking their tongue around. When walking on the substrate, a flick of tongue could cause the substrate to stick to it. Thus, the iguana may swallow the substrate and this will result in blockage of its bowels or damage to the intestine. Such an injury may prove to be very risky for the health and life of your pet. Thus, the best substrate to use is old newspaper. Just lay layers of newspaper at the bottom and replace the old ones when soiled. Newspapers or the ink on them if ingested by mistake by the iguana, will pose no health threat. Other useful substrate is to use artificial turf. This turf will add to the exotic look of your cage. Also, the iguana will in no way be able to digest the artificial turf. All you need to do is buy one piece turf and change it with an extra sheet, every time you think a change is necessary.
Iguanas are arboreal creatures, who love climbing over branches and trees. Place a few climbing areas and basking areas for the iguana in the cage. You can try placing branches of wood or plastic coated shelving. A rope esthetically tied that allows the iguana to stretch comfortably can also be tried. Place a few logs and sticks that can support the reptiles weight. Give your cage a rain forest look or let your imagination lose. But, make sure the set up is not too crowded. Remember, iguanas love space and a crowded cage will only make things stressful for them. Arrange a few fake plants and vines to give your iguana some privacy time.
It is very important to place lights in the cage of your iguana. These lights are important as they help warm up the iguana for digestion of food. A 75 watt bulb will suffice for the heating needs of your iguana. You can even place a heating pad in one corner of the cage and place a small, low cost fan in one area. This will help maintain the humidity as well as temperature inside the cage. At night, make sure the bulb is on or the heating pad is used to keep your iguana warm. Make sure the light bulb, fan blade, wires, etc. are out of reach of the iguana. These reptiles are quite inquisitive as well as destructive in nature and this may lead to electrical injuries.
Yes, your pet will love its own private pool. Place a shallow plate filled with water. The iguana will love to swim in the water and even have a sip or two. The water should not be so deep, that the animal drowns. Judge accordingly and choose a plate or bowl to serve as a pool. Clean the water regularly as it will be contaminated by feces, left over food, etc.
These are a few tips for an iguana cage setup. Make sure you set up the cage before you bring home your pet. After placing your iguana in the cage, stay around. This will help him bond with you and reduce his stress levels. The animal may rub across the walls of the cage or plants. This is normal as the animal may be scared and trying to explore the surrounding. An iguana is not like a cat or dog and has specific requirements. If you are ready to take on a long term responsibility, then an iguana is the pet for you.