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The basic guide to raising a healthy iguana.

This page covers these topics:

As a proud owner of seven (yes, seven) iguanas, I've done a lot of research on this species. I took the best of all the info and put it together to give other ig owners an idea of how to raise a happy and healthy pet.

Cage Design:
The cage for your ig should be at least twice the ig's size (snout to tip of tail) in length, 1 and 1/2 the ig's size in height, and at least the ig's size in depth (front to back).

Habitat Forming:
In order to create the most natural habitat for your ig, you may want to use either astroturf or Repti carpet for the floor of the cage. Both can be found at most pet stores. I recommend PetsMart or Petco. You should put one or two sticks in the cage for climbing and basking. If you get sticks from the back yard or outside somewhere make sure you soak them in a bleach sollution for 24 hours (one part bleach, two parts water). Let them dry completly before placing them in the cage. Place two water bowls in the cage - one for drinking, and a larger one for soaking. This is not required, although it may make things simpler for you. Make sure you change water bowls daily. You will also need a food dish that is somewhat large yet shallow so your iguana can reach the food easily. You don't want too much clutter on the floor of the cage as this may stress the iguana. You want the ig to have plenty of room to walk around. You also may want to put some vines or plants in the cage (preferably plastic), For decoration and to make the ig feel more at home.

Heating and Lighting:
In order to provide proper heat and light for your ig you need at least one uv light (preferably 100wt). Make sure you keep the light outside of the cage so your ig doesn't burn itself. You don't want the uv light shining through glass as this filters out essential vitamins that your ig needs. You also need a night light that provides additional necessary vitamins. Take your ig outside to give it natural sunlight at least three times a week (if weather permits). DO NOT USE HOT ROCKS!! Hot rocks are not good to use because the iguana can stay on them too long and burn itself. If you want to provide sources of heat in addition to the lights, you can use an undertank heater or a ceramic heater. Both can be found at your local pet store. The temperature in the cage should stay between 80 and 100 degrees farenheit during the day, and no less than 75 degrees farenheit at night. You may want to get a thermometer for the cage to regulate heat. You also want to provide a place for your ig to get out of the light if it wants. A small cardboard box or low shelf works.

Feeding your Iguana:
The best things to feed your ig are fresh vegetables and leafy greens, which can be found at your local supermarket. Make sure you thoroughly wash all food items to remove any pesticides. Your ig's main diet should be made up of collard greens, musard greens, yellow squash, zuccini, and snow peas or snap beans. Once a week you can add parsley. You may also give your ig some fruit such as apples, oranges, strawberries, or kiwi in small amounts about once a month. Also you may occasionaly add kale or bok choy in with the salad mix. Never give your ig animal protien such as insects, cat or dog food, or pinky mice. This will cause serious damage and can eventually kill the iguana. You should also add a calcium suppliment to the food every other day (especially with juvenile igs) as this can help prevent MBD (metabolic bone disease).

Grooming your Iguana:

If you choose not to put the second bowl in the cage you can use a large pan or dish for bathing your ig. You can also use your bathtub. Fill it with about one to three inches (depending on the size of the ig) with luke warm water and let the ig soak for about ten to fifteen minutes two to three times a week. If you use the bathtub make sure to clean it thoroughly with bleach before allowing humans to use it.

Nail Trimming:
It is very important to keep your ig's nails trimmed. You should trim your ig's nails once to twice a month. If you let its nails get too long it can cause damage not only to you, but to your iguana as well. Be extra careful when trimming. This activity is definitely a two person project. One to hold and one to clip. Wrapping the iguana in a towel is very effective. It makes the ig feel safe and saves you from being scratched by uncliped nails. Be careful to trim just the very tip of the nail. If you trim too far up you can cut the cuticle and cause the nail to bleed. If this happens, simply blot the nail with a cotton ball soaked in peroxide to prevent infection.

Final notes:
Cleanliness is very important in keeping your ig healthy. Your ig's cage should be cleaned at least once a week with a bleach solution. Its dishes should be washed every other day (at least) to prevent harmful bacteria from forming. Change the water daily! Since iguanas usually like to defecate in water, this is a must!!
Mist your ig's cage with water daily in order to maintain proper levels of humidity. Your ig will enjoy the shower. Use a small spray bottle for this.

You should take your iguana to a vet as soon as possible and take in a stool sample to be tested for any kind of harmful parasite. You could be saving your iguana's life. Keep going back for routine check ups every four to six months.
Follow these simple guidelines, and your ig should grow up to be very healthy and active. Thank you and enjoy your exotic friend!

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Signed, the Lizards
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Lizard life