Iguanas

Iguanas are big animals. In fact, adults can measure up to 6 feet long. They can live up to 20 years. They live in the open margins of rain forests in Central and South America or slightly drier areas along rivers & streams. The following should give you a great deal of advice on how to look after a pet iguana. 

Diet

Iguanas are exclusively herbivorous. Do not give them meat or animal protein. It will kill them.

Housing

Due to an iguana’s size, it requires a large enclosure. The normal size of an adult is from 5 to 6 feet. They require tall cages because they are arboreal (Tree dwelling) & prefer to spend the majority of their time as high off the ground as they can. Branches just wider than the animal’s diameter must be provided for climbing; these can be purchased or collected but if collected they must be sterilised with a dilute bleach solution before use (1 part bleach to 10 parts water) & then washed with clean water. Young iguanas can be kept in smaller enclosures.

Heating

Provided by spot lamps, typically 60-100 watts & heat mats placed under the substrate. Specialised infra red ceramic heaters can also be used. Both lamps & heaters produce intense local heat so care must be taken to shield heat sources from the iguana to prevent burns. The following temperature gradients should be maintained constantly:

Daytime ambient temperatures of 75-85°F (23-28°C) with additional daytime basking area 88-95°F (31-35°C)

Night time ambient temperature gradient of 73-85°F (23-28°C)

Invest in good thermometers & thermostats to accurately control temperatures.

Lighting

Dark incandescent spot lamp - deep red lamps are best as they produce light which does not upset the iguana’s sleep cycle therefore it can be left on all the time to help heat the enclosure.

A bright white spot lamp will encourage the iguana to bask under it & use it to gain most of its body heat - essential for digestion & survival.

Fluorescent UV tube lamp - iguanas require a source of UV radiation, specifically UVA and UVB. UVA is used by the iguana, just like humans, for a general sense of well-being. There are several UVB producing lamps on the market often marked ‘Full Spectrum’. The best is Zoo Med’s Iguana 5.0 but as these can be hard to get, an alternative is Hagen Life Glow lamp.