Caring for Green Iguanas

This reptile is one of the most unusual pet that any animal keeper may choose to have. Many have found the peculiar characteristics of these reptiles to be so amusing that they would rather have them as pets than just watch them on tv or anywhere else they may be found.

Iguanas are herbivorous reptiles and are native to tropical areas such as South and Central America, Mexico, as well as the Carribean. About 30 species of the larger lizard family is already known. Of these, the common or the green iguana is the best-known species. The green iguana is usually from Mexico southward to Brazil.


Biological features

Iguanas are considered the largest lizards found in America. They can vary in size depending on the species. On average, they can grow to a length of about 6 to 6.5 feet and weigh about 11 pounds. The longest known iguana is reported to be about 7 feet and was found basking on the bank of a creek on Taveuni in Fiji.

Green iguanas are characterized by their dark bands forming rings on their tails. The females are grayish green and are about half the weight of their male counterpart. Iguanas are said to possess atrophied venom glands that produce a weak harmless venom. Even then, their bites can cause some serious injuries, so if you are planning to keep one as a pet you should know how to train it well. You should also be aware of the signals that they send especially when they are becoming agitated or snappy.

Form of communication between green iguanas

One interesting thing about these green iguanas is that they use non-verbal communication like head bobbing and moving the flap of skin under their necks (dewlaps). They extend their dewlaps to ascertain territoriality as well as when courting a female green iguana. Head bobbing, on the other hand, may signal recognition of another iguana or its level of agitation. The more intense its emotion the more rigorous the head bobbing will be.

Look out for any sign of aggression such as standing on all fours, drawing in a deep breath so as to appear larger, and lowering its dewlap (the skin flap under its chin). Be ready whenever it happens. If you are able to provide it with the basic needs, you definitely won’t need to worry about this happening, however.

The average lifespan of this generally docile reptile is about 20 years, so if you are planning to have it as a pet, you will surely have a lot of memories to share long before your iguana expires. To keep them healthy and safe, you need to know how to better provide their basic requirements. Read on to find some useful tips on how to do this.


Although a green iguana may be placed inside an aquarium, they will soon grow to be too large for this housing. They usually need a lot of space as they love roaming around, even climbing. For this reason, you may need to build a best iguana cage. A small room where the temperature, humidity, and ultraviolet (UV) light exposure can be controlled will also be a great alternative. The enclosure should also be twice its length and about six feet or more as these lizards love climbing around. Like other reptiles, such as a bearded dragon, a male green iguana is territorial, hence should not be kept together with another male iguana.

Unless you can certain that you can provide the right facilities for an adult green iguana, you should NEVER consider purchasing one to keep as a pet.

Heat, lighting, and humidity

Green iguanas like it hot and sticky. Your pet will definitely need a good basking area where the temperature is around 90 degrees Fahrenheit. As it is a cool-blooded ectotherm, it will need this sweet spot to help it regulate its temperature for its body systems to function properly. As its body temp may eventually get too hot, it will also need a cooler place to cool down. Therefore, as you build its enclosure, you need to make sure to include cooler zones with temperatures that won’t fall below the mid-70s. A combination of ceramic bulbs or mercury vapor bulbs that provide both heat and UV light will do the trick. Just make sure to replace the bulbs whenever they need to be replaced. You will also need to have thermometers installed at each end of the enclosure which you will use to monitor the temperatures within the enclosure from time to time.

Your pet iguana will also need proper humidity to stay hydrated (that will be about 60 to 70 percent). To provide your reptile enough water, you will need to place a shallow dish where it can sip fresh water from time to time. They will also need to be misted by best reptile humidifier and soaked in the water several times a week (especially during the hot season) to ensure that they won’t get dehydrated.

Food and diet for green iguanas

The natural dietary requirements of your green iguana can easily be met with natural foods that you can buy in the supermarket and also online. Commercially prepared best food for iguana are as nutritious as their raw natural counterparts. They will go crazy over veggies. Collard greens, dandelions, yellow squash, turnip greens, whole green beans, and other vegetables are excellent food for your pet iguana.

You may also offer fruit once a week. Giving your pet green iguana more fruit than necessary may cause diarrhea. It is essential that you provide your pet lizard with a varied vegetarian diet to ensure the proper balance of calcium to phosphorus, which is vital to your pet’s health.

Additionally, you can serve your pet with commercially made foods from brands such as Zoo Med, Mazuri, Rep-Cal, and others that offer nutritious foods that your pet will love to munch.

You may also need to provide supplements, such as a calcium supplement to ensure that your iguana won’t develop any health issues like the metabolic bone disease.

Caring for your pet iguana should be easy as long as you have trained it well while it is young. If you notice anything unusual with your pet, however, do not hesitate to call a certified vet to provide a thorough analysis of your pet green iguana.