Pet Care

Iguana as Pets | Which Breed is Preferable as Pets?

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Iguana as pets? Before putting out this article to our hundreds of viewers, we @pestclue had to embark on a series of research as it sounded somewhat odd to have an iguana as a pet in a modern-day world.

Did you know that iguanas are “sun worshippers”? well, you probably did not know this!

The Iguana belongs to a genus of herbivorous lizards ( a widespread group of reptiles, ranging across all continents except Antarctica; known to be anatomically adapted to feeding on plant material for the main component of its diet).

They are native to:

  • Tropical areas of Mexico
  • Central America
  • South America
  • The Caribbean, etc

After carrying out some basic research on this subject topic, we discovered some frequently asked subquestions:

  • Is it advisable to keep these reptiles as pets?
  • Are iguanas pets or pests?
  • What are iguanas?
  • What breed of iguanas are preferable as pets?
  • etc.

Lucky for our hundreds of viewers, we @pestclue have taken it in our best interest to provide reasonable answers to these questions and leave our viewers with satisfaction in their minds.

Read on!

 

What are some Amazing Facts About Iguanas?

Some of our viewers may feel they know everything about these reptiles, but below are 8 solid Did You Know Facts you probably did not know about the Iguanas:

Amazing Facts Explanation
1.  Iguanas Have Undoubtedly Long Bodies

 

From the tip of their nose to their tails, iguanas can grow as long as 6 feet (most of their body length is due to their tail though).

If you plan on having these reptiles as pets, you should think of procuring a very large tank capable of capacitating them. When procuring a tank the following factors should be considered:

  • The tank must be very large to enable the iguanas to stretch out and turn around.
  • The tank should have controlled temperature, UV lights exposure, and humidity.
  • The tank or enclosure should be twice as long as the length of the iguana and a minimum of 7 feet high since they are fond of climbing.

 

2.  Iguanas can live for 20 or more years even under captivity. Mind-blowing right!
3.  Iguanas are sun worshippers Calling them sun-worshippers does not necessarily mean that these reptiles are slaves of the sun who go out every day to make sacrifices to the sun for protection. Lol!

Sun worshippers mean that these reptiles depend solely on sunlight for the production of vitamin D in their skin; this enables them to absorb calcium from their food.

Since these guys depend solely on sunlight, having them as pets would be somewhat expensive as UV bulbs would require a constant change every 5 months (not doing this would cause the Uv bulbs to burn out):

Ultraviolet light must shine directly on the Iguana, as it cannot be filtered by the glass containing the reptile.

Why is it necessary to give these guys constant access to sunlight:

Housing Iguanas without access to Ultra Violet lights will lead to the development of metabolic bone disease in which the Iguanas extract calcium instead from their skeleton, making them have soft bones that fold and break under pressure.

 

4.  Their long tails come off! Sometimes purposely or due to certain conditions Iguanas break their tails off from their bodies. They can lose their tails when:

  • Trying to escape a predator’s grip on the tail.
  • The tail restrains their movement.
  • The tail gets caught and they cannot move.
  • They constantly whip their tails against hard surfaces.
  • They may also lose their tails if it is being stepped on.

The broken tail may still grow back if it was cut off cleanly, and the Iguana involved is still young and healthy. In several cases where the tails are badly broken off, regrowth is not certain and should be immediately checked to prevent infection in the affected area.

 

5.  Iguanas shed their skins till they die As Iguanas age, they often shed their skins and will continue this act till they die.

When Iguanas shed, their skins appear to become D; D; O (Darker; Duller; Opaque); During this process, they will sit still with their eyes shut, and their bodies inflated to help loosen the shedding skin.

As Iguanas age, the rate at which they shed their skins reduces; Young Iguanas shed their skins severally, while older Iguanas shed their skins once every year.

They will often rub their bodies against objects in their enclosures to scratch off patches of shedding skin. You can help quicken the process by soaking them in a bowl of warm water to help pieces of dry retained skin shed more easily.

 

6.  Iguanas can do anything to get their Veggies As mentioned earlier, Iguanas are herbivores and feed predominantly on vegetables and fruit in the wild with an occasional insect, snail, or bird’s egg. Pet iguanas should be fed a vegetable-based diet with minimal animal protein, as long-term animal protein consumption may have harmful effects on the kidneys.

Iguanas should be fed a variety of dark leafy greens, fruits, and vegetables including

  • Collard
  • Mustard
  • Turnip
  • Dandelion greens
  • Lettuce
  • Green beans
  • Peas
  • Carrots
  • Squash
  • Peppers
  • Mango
  • Papaya
  • Apples
  • Banana
  • Berries.

Vegetables are critically required to maintaining the proper balance of calcium to phosphorus, which is essential to the iguanas’ health.

 

7.  They can communicate with each other Unlike humans, Iguanas do not communicate verbally but talk to each other through head tilting and through the movement of the flap of skin (dewlap) under their necks.

Below are ways Iguanas communicate with each other: They extend their dewlaps to say hello to each other or as a sign of being territorial; Male extend their dewlaps when courting females; They tilt their heads slowly up and down at each other to acknowledge each other’s presence (Faster head tilting is a sign of aggression); Rapid back-and-forth head-tilting is usually an indication that the iguana is extremely upset and should be left alone; They whip their tails whenever they feel threatened.

Yes, they do not speak verbally but they do communicate.

 

8.  They can recognize their owners Those unfamiliar with Iguanas don’t realize it, but pet iguanas are capable of recognizing their owners by sight and sound. Iguanas have a very keen vision and can clearly see their owners and recognize them.

Although an iguana has no external ear, as we (humans) do, it does have a clearly visible eardrum (tympanic membrane) on both sides of its head and can hear very well.

They hear sounds in a different frequency range from that heard by humans, but they clearly discern familiar voices and other noise. They do not necessarily respond if called like a dog, but they definitely respond to their owners.

 

 

What Is an Iguana?

Iguana as Pets
Picture of an Iguana

The Iguana belongs to a genus of herbivorous lizards ( a widespread group of reptiles, ranging across all continents except Antarctica; known to be anatomically adapted to feeding on plant material for the main component of its diet).

These reptiles are native to:

  • The Caribbean
  • South America
  • Mexico
  • and Central America

The name “Iguanas” was first derived from the species iwana, and was first mentioned in the book Specimen Medicum, Exhibens Synopsin Reptilium Emendatam cum Experimentis circa Venena by an Austrian naturalist Josephus Nicolaus in the year 1768.

There are 2 species of reptiles placed in the genus of herbivorous Lizards; The Lesser Antillean Iguana (native to the Lesser Antilles), and the green iguana popularly kept as pets.

From the tip of their nose to their tails, iguanas can grow as long as 6 feet (most of their body length is due to their tail though).  They also possess a flap of skin (dewlap) and a row of elongated scales running from the midline of their necks down to their tails.

They also have scales on the dorsal trunk of their bodies that are not always visible from close distances, and on their cheeks are round scales referred to as subtympanic shield.

Iguanas have a very keen vision and can clearly see colors, shadows, shapes, and even their owners. Their visual sharpness enables them to move through thick forests and locate a food source; Iguanas are often hard to spot though, as they tend to blend into their surroundings, which enables them to hide from larger predators.

Amazing to know that the iguanas have a three-chambered heart comprising of:

  • 2 Atria
  • 1 Ventricle
  • and 2 Aortae with systemic circulation.

 

What is the State of Iguana In Florida?

In Florida, Iguanas (green Iguanas to be precise) is highly prohibited and considered invasive pests due to their negative roles in native wildlife.

They can be humanely eliminated legally since they are not native to Florida, and are only protected by anti-inhumane law (this does not still place them on the safe side though).

Green Iguanas are going to extinction though due to these inhumane acts.

 

How To Get Rid Of An Iguana Invasion?

  • Work On your Landscaping

Overgrown plants around your home can serve as invitation cards to iguanas as they offer hiding spots for them (iguanas) to seek shelter.

Trimming and cleaning your landscapes is a worthy technique for keeping iguanas away as well as other reptiles like snakes, etc

Cutting down hollow trees around you can also help keep these guys away, as they serve as a preferred hiding spot for iguanas.

  • Get Rid of Food that is In the Iguana’s Diet

As mentioned earlier, Iguanas are herbivores and feed predominantly on vegetables and fruit in the wild with an occasional insect, snail, or bird’s egg, etc

Iguanas should be fed a variety of dark leafy greens, fruits, and vegetables including

  • Collard
  • Mustard
  • Turnip
  • Dandelion greens
  • Lettuce
  • Green beans
  • Peas
  • Carrots
  • Squash
  • Peppers
  • Mango
  • Papaya
  • Apples
  • Banana
  • Berries.

Knowing that they are crazy for fruits and veggies, you should attempt picking up fallen fruits from surrounding trees; If you must have trees, consider planting more Citrus trees as they (Iguanas) detest them; and finally, do well to properly do away with leftovers as they are another source of invitation to the Iguana.

Note: In all that you do, never attempt feeding Iguanas unless you plan on keeping them as pets.

  • Purchase Repellents Spray them Around Your Yard

Spraying repellents around and near plants can help get rid of iguanas.

To get a more positive result:

  1. Repellent granules (garlic, neem oil, etc) can be sprinkled near the foundation of your building (to avoid digging) to cover the border of your property.
  2. Spray the Iguana repellent on the granules for positive results. 

Although the use of repellents is not completely effective, it sure can help reduce the population of these uninvited guests.

  • Check for Holes and Ensure Proper Filling of these Holes with Rocks and Gravels to Make it Difficult for them to Dig (They may get frustrated and start departing occasionally)
  • Call On Experts

Issues may arise, such as:

  1. Hurting of the Iguanas in an attempt to get rid of them.
  2. They may lose their tails in an attempt to escape traps.
  3. You may end up trapping a neighbor’s cat or dog in one of your Iguana traps; you definitely do not want to hurt your neighbor’s pet.
  4. They (Iguana) may hurt you in an attempt to pull them out from a trap.

To avoid these issues, do well to contact Professional Iguana Removal Agents.

 

Iguana as Pets

Now that you have well-cited facts about the Iguanas, it is about time we know about the Iguana as pets.

 

Is it Advisable to have Iguana as Pets?

Iguanas can not, and never will be truly domesticated animals, and despite the care and affection shown to them by their owners many of them will try to escape their enclosures (tanks) and even your home if they are let loose.

Having an Iguana as a pet could be somewhat stressful as they need to be routinely tamed with love, care, and patience. Many of you would ask, why tame them if you love them? well, taming is a very important stage in an Iguanas daily routine as it can help them trust you and try not to escape!

Rare but true; Iguanas can be dangerous as pets (in the beginning stage though), as they have sharp claws which might cause you an injury or two, and strong tails capable of breaking a human’s bone. You do not have to be scared though as they can only do this at their old age (only if they do not trust you; which is why you must try and get them to trust you)

Despite all these negativities about them, Iguanas are still lovable creatures and Yes you can have them as pets!

 

What Breed of Iguanas are Preferable as Pets?

Of all the species of Iguanas, the most preferable to keep as pets is the Green Iguana.

If you plan on having a Green Iguana as a pet, you should consider procuring a very large tank capable of capacitating them. When procuring a tank the following factors should be considered:

  • The tank must be very large to enable the iguanas to stretch out and turn around.
  • The tank should have controlled temperature, UV lights exposure, and humidity.
  • The tank or enclosure should be twice as long as the length of the iguana and a minimum of 7 feet high since they are fond of climbing.

A full-grown green iguana may grow at 6 feet long and requires more room than it did when it was young and only 1 foot long. They actually do grow fast, so it is advisable to construct an enclosure (or tank) that is at least 8 feet in length, 8 feet in height, and 4 feet in width.

 

Conclusion

Thanks for taking your time to read through this research-based article “Iguana as pets” as we do believe you are leaving with a satisfactory mind on this subject topic.

Feel free to drop your comments (query/inquiry) as we will be gladly anticipating them.

Ememobong Umoh is one of the prominent authors of Pestclue. He is an undergraduate who is experienced in the field and has written numerous mind thrilling articles about pests and animals.

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