Should you keep an iguana as a Pet?

Should you keep an iguana as a Pet?

Only if an iguana is the best pet for you, and only you can answer that. The best pet really depends on the person and what that person is looking for. Some animals aren’t meant to be pets and aren’t the best pets for anyone unless that person has opened an AZA-accredited zoo or another educational institution.

But iguanas aren’t like that. They can be good pets, and they are relatively common pets. But I can tell you that an iguana is not the best pet for most people. They get prohibitively large, requiring essentially an entire room in your home.

They need heat lamps, they need water to bathe in, they need things to climb on, they need to be habilitated to people. And they are grumpy animals that come equipped with a vast variety of weapons unless you train them to be comfortable with being handled.

Even then, an iguana might be in a bad mood and take a chunk out of your arm or something. So probably you shouldn’t, and you are better off vacationing in Costa Rica, but maybe an iguana is right for you.

What are the advantages of having a green iguana as a pet?

Reptile lovers find giant lizards particularly appealing. You obviously can’t have a Komodo dragon at home, but having other kinds of lizards as a pet is close enough! And talking about lizards, Iguanas are a big favorite among pet lovers for many reasons.

The green iguana, specifically, has become a popular pet even beyond their natural habitat. These beauties are natural from tropical areas like Central and South America; if you live in the area, it will be easy for you to obtain one! Of course, before thinking of acquiring one, you probably prefer to know the pros and cons of having an iguana as a pet.


The pros of having a pet green iguana are discussed in detail below.


This giant lizard can live up to 20 years in captivity; for loving owners, this is an absolute pro! Naturally, like any pet, iguanas need good care in order to live so long. Of course, such a long-lived pet will require a high level of commitment on your part.

Easy to meet diet

If you don’t like your salad, you can give it to your pet iguana, and it will be grateful to you. Iguanas in the wild eat leaves, fruits, flowers, and vegetables, and this entirely herbivorous diet must be replicated in captivity.

Their diet will depend on how old they are. Young iguanas eat more often than fully grown iguanas. Many pet stores indicate young iguanas should eat animal protein, like crickets and other small insects. Wrong!

Iguanas (no matter how old they are) are not equipped to process animal protein at all. Including animal protein in the iguana’s diet can result in kidney disease; adult iguanas eat less often than young iguanas.

In the wild, iguanas don’t drink much water because all the greens they eat and their environment have sufficient humidity to keep them hydrated. In captivity, iguanas must have clean and adequate water for them to drink.

For a more precise diet-regime for your pet iguana, we recommend you seek out your vet for recommendations.

Strong build

Iguanas are not delicate at all! If anything, they look like tiny dinosaurs. They have strong jaws with sharp teeth. Their Godzilla-like look is complete with long and sharp claws plus a long yet strong tail.

If you keep your iguana in an outdoor enclosure (if your home size and the weather allow it), you can leave it alone as they don’t get hurt easily. Iguanas love to climb trees; they can even fall from 40 to 50 feet high and land without injuries.

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If iguanas’ strong and agile capacities appeal to you, then this is the pet for you. Iguanas are diurnal

If you love watching iguanas, it is best if they are awake at the same time that you are, right? Iguanas are diurnal creatures; they are up and ready with the rise of the sun. In fact, iguanas love the sun so much that they stay whenever they can get the most out of the UV rays. In the wild it is easy to find them taking in the sun, high on a tree branch.

Iguanas are amazing creatures to watch; they have their very own particular way of communicating with you and with other animals around them.



Iguanas are one of the most giant lizards in America. They can measure from 50 to 72 inches long, from the tip of the head to the tip of the tail. An adult male green iguana can weigh as much as 20 lb. Many reptile enthusiasts prefer green iguanas because of their large size, while others find this to be a con.

Iguanas’ large size forces pet owners to acquire large tanks or terrariums to fit that long tail. Iguanas reach their maximum length at seven years old; therefore, don’t be fooled by that tiny-looking iguana at the pet store! There are no small iguanas; they all grow to be giant lizards. If you don’t have a terrarium big enough for a fully-grown iguana, don’t get one.

To be happy and comfortable, iguanas need space to move, stretch, and turn with ease. Like other lizards, they need a water pot deep and large enough for them to soak in. Hence, if you lack the space in your home to accommodate this giant lizard, you better go with another choice of pet.

There are plenty of reptiles with loving, affectionate, and also fun personalities… Iguanas are not the case. For starters, iguanas don’t like to be touched. You can train them to TOLERATE touch, but they don’t really like it.

Experienced iguana owners have noted that their pet iguanas close their eyes when they pet them, but this is not because they like being pet. Iguanas often close their eyes to shut off; this is how iguanas ignore stressful situations, and being a pet is one of them. If your iguana starts to open only one eye while being pet, it means it is beginning to trust you more. If it keeps both eyes open, it is a good sign.

Iguanas have a strong sense of self-defense; because of this, it is not rare for them to be wary of you or anyone around them. The central part of the iguana’s length is in their tail. If someone tries to grab them by their tail or they feel threatened, they use it as a whip to protect themselves.

If you can’t help but cuddle your pet, exercise caution with the iguana and earn their trust. It can take you days, months, or even years; it all depends on the iguana’s personality. If you find it too hard, you can always get a more docile lizard, or you know…a dog.


Iguanas demand constant care and attention. Because of their sturdy looks, people can forget iguanas have their fair share of health issues.

Green iguanas’ skin is bright green when they are young (thus, their name, right?). The green color gets darker and darker as they age. A fully grown iguana should have a healthy grayish color; any drastic or notable change from their natural color could mean the iguana is sick.

Captive iguanas often develop a disease called Metabolic Bone Disease; this disease makes their bones weaker and provokes deformities and early death. The reason behind this disease is not providing enough UVA and UVB light to the iguana. With these components of natural sunlight, the iguana can manufacture vitamin D3 and metabolize calcium. There are special UV bulbs in case natural sunlight is not an option.

Respiratory infections are also not uncommon in captive iguanas. This happens when the temperature in their tank is not the best for them.

There are other health concerns regarding iguanas, and loving owners must pay close attention to their pet iguana in order for the pet to have a long and happy life. If you need more time or the money to concern yourself with these issues, then pet iguanas are certainly not for you.

Expensive to accommodate

Obtaining an iguana is not complicated or expensive at all; because of how popular they have become, it is straightforward to get one. But housing an iguana takes work. For example, they need precise living arrangements in order for them to last many years and have a healthy life.

Iguanas need a terrarium wide enough to fit the large size they will eventually have; they also need special lighting, humidity, and temperature conditions. Not to mention all the expensive visits to a vet specialized in exotic animals.

If you believe you will have a difficult time maintaining an iguana for the next 20 years, you better get a different pet.

Housing an iguana

This point is connected to the previous one. Iguanas can grow to be 72 inches long and pet stores rarely have a tank or terrarium large enough for your iguana to turn around and stretch their long tail. Because of this, a safe enclosure for your pet iguana would have to be custom-made.

Like other reptiles, iguanas require controlled UV light, temperature, and humidity in their tank or terrarium. This is vital for their well-being, as not having the correct temperature could result in your iguana losing fingers or even their tail. As cold-blooded animals, they require warm temperatures to survive.

Iguanas love to climb; this is one of their favorite pastimes. Their space should be prepared with areas for them to climb and enjoy themselves.

If housing an iguana will become a problem for you or you lack the proper space at home to own one, then a less demanding pet is in order.

Photo by Jairo Alzate on Unsplash

NOT for children

Children LOVE to pet animals and carry them here and there. Well, iguanas are NOT for children. Iguanas have solid and sharp jaws, and they bite if they feel threatened. Rapid or sudden moves are sufficient to startle an iguana, and children can be restless.

Iguanas’ muscular tails can also cause heavy damage if they feel intimidated and decide to attack.

Older kids can be close to the pet iguana under adult supervision and be coached to respect the iguana’s area. Still, if you have children at home, not buying the iguana is cheaper than an ER visit.

Difficult to train

Iguanas have different personalities; some are more approachable than others. No matter the iguana, there is one common factor with them…they are usually hard to train.

To tame an iguana, you can get them used to being handled from a young. Giving them food with your hand is a good option, too. That way, the iguana will learn to trust you and know that you mean no harm.

Never grab an iguana by the tail; if they feel trapped, they will just “let go” of their tail, and it won’t grow as long or as pretty as their original tail was. When carrying an iguana, it must be carefully and by the stomach, never by the tail.

Training an iguana can take YEARS if your iguana is particularly stubborn. If you don’t have the patience to train an iguana for so long, there are far more docile lizards for you to get.

Do iguanas make good pets

It depends. Iguanas can make excellent pets for the right person. Iguanas are strictly herbivorous animals, which makes them easy to feed, but at the same time, it is easy to forget they also have nutritional needs. Inform yourself by a vet about all the diet requirements for your pet iguana if you decide to obtain one.

One of the factors that make iguanas a difficult pet option is that they are challenging to tame. Being patient and kind and knowing how to hold your iguana gently can make a lot of difference in the iguana’s trust in you. It is essential for a healthy and calm iguana to feel safe. Any sudden moves, unknown people, and stressful situations can put your iguana on edge.

Have in mind iguanas are long-lived lizards; if you are more than willing to share your space, food, and generous portions of your salary with your pet iguana and are patient enough to train and tame the most obstinate iguana ever, then go for it! Iguanas are the right pet for you!

Iguanas have different personalities, and some are more docile than others. Still, patience is needed when training an iguana. They are beautiful lizards that resemble tiny dinosaurs, and as diurnal animals, you can watch them comfortably.

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Keeping an iguana is quite pricey, though, so be sure to be capable of committing to having an iguana before acquiring one. These are not typical pets, but for the right person, iguanas are the perfect companion.

Will an iguana make a good pet for a six-year-old child?

Iguanas are incredibly specialized pets and the vast majority of adults who have them as pets do not look after them properly.

Some of the things they require, off the top of my head:

  • Correct heating (NEVER use heating pads; heat needs to be ambient or come from above, or they can get very, very sick and die).
  • High humidity.
  • A cage that is AT LEAST the size of a sizeable double-door cupboard, with shelves on different levels and plenty of high spaces for the iguana to chill on and look down on the world from (they stress if they are kept at human head height or lower).
  • The cage is also a constant effort to keep clean because of the salty deposits from the iguana sneezing against the sides (that’s how they get rid of excess salt), and they poo a LOT (because folivores do that).
  • They require a lot of sunlight for metabolic needs, so captive iguanas need unique UVB lights to ensure they get enough.
  • They are folivores, so they need to get the majority of their nutrients from leaves. But you have to keep the calcium/phosphorus ratio in their diet just right, so you had better know what the calcium and phosphorus content is of all the leaves you feed them.
  • However, they need all kinds of nutrients, so you have to balance their nutritional needs while keeping that ratio correct. You will have to steam certain vegetables to add to their diet. You may have to make a personal arrangement with a veggie shop near you so that they will keep things like turnip leaves for you. No, you can’t just feed them lettuce, spinach and kale. They will die a slow, agonizing death.
  • They can live 20 – 30 years, so you had better be sure you want an iguana until past retirement age.
  • They require a LOT of attention to keep them tame and socialized. You are talking about a lizard that can get 5 – 6 feet long (including tail, of course).
  • It has incredibly long, sharp claws; their bite easily breaks the skin, and a well-placed strike of the tail can cut through muscle and right to the bone. If you are unlucky, you might get an individual with a particularly skittish personality who will never get socialized.
  • They need extra attention and care in spring because they get temperamental around this time and WILL challenge or even launch themselves at human members of the opposite sex. A horny, irritable, 6-foot lizard with built-in weapons at every side of its body. Fun, fun, fun.
  • It is tough to find someone to take care of the iguana and give it the care and attention it needs when you go on holiday.
  • They are SMART – they need a LOT of stimulation.

I have yet to see a pet shop whose iguanas did not have injuries and signs of metabolic bone disease from not being kept correctly. Even most zoos need to improve their care. It was so rare for my vet to see a properly taken care of iguana that she called all the other veterinarians to come and look at mine when I took her for a check-up.

What is it like to have a small iguana as a pet?

I had a small iguana as a pet when I was a kid. His name was Iggy, how original, eh? He lived in a heated aquarium. Iguanas need heat, as they are cold-blooded reptiles, after all.

Iggy was so cute, and he was tiny. Well, poor Iggy was so small that one day, he “escaped” out the window into the world. My father used to say that he spotted Iggy outside on the street sometimes, but i think that was to make me and my brother feel better.

What should I know before purchasing an iguana as a pet?

The sheer size of an Iguana is something you should know. Lots of owners are caught unaware of how big and how fast an iguana can grow. Depending on locale, gender, and genetics, your iguana can grow anywhere from 4–7 feet long, with a few iguanas reportedly growing 8 feet long. They can weigh eight pounds, and they’ll reach full size in around three years. Be aware of the growth rate and final size.

Despite their size, iguanas are really active animals. They need room to climb, explore, and swim, so the tank size must be impressive and cannot be skimped on. Doing so would make an unhappy iguana, which is also probably unhealthy. The minimum is six foot by six foot by six feet; a better one would be seven by seven, and an even better one would be 9 squares.

Be sure to learn the iguana body language and be aware. A bite wound is severe and would require a trip to the ER. Be mindful that males become angry during the mating season to be aware.

Will an iguana make a good pet for a six-year-old child?

An iguana makes a “good pet” for very, very few people – they’re giant lizards that get hormonally aggressive for a few months of the year, require a specialist herbivorous diet carefully balanced for calcium and phosphorus levels, need a massive cage with UVB lighting and heating (think “spare bedroom” and you won’t go far wrong) that can cope with their humidity requirements…

I certainly wouldn’t expect a child to be the primary keeper and handler of a six-foot lizard with a tail like a bullwhip, claws designed for climbing trees (and people), and quite strong jaws that an irritated iguana is inclined to use on whatever has irritated it.

They aren’t great pets unless you, as an adult, are SUPER passionate about the idea of owning and managing an iguana.

What will happen if you put your pet iguana with your pet Argentine tegu?

I don’t know about putting them in an enclosure together, but as you can see from the photos, they had no problem sharing a sunspot here: I know more about iguanas than tegus; iguanas are territorial, and those two would fight in the same cage but had no issues being out together.

The tegu in the above photo DID try to eat our pet tortoise, which is worth mentioning. However, in the following picture, (different tegu) was only interested in water and sun.

It’s also notable that the iguanas were very wary of the tegu, and the tortoises hid in their shells. An Argentine tegu is an impressive lizard. A predator and carnivorous, their behavior has the potential to be unpredictable.

What are the advantages of having a green iguana as a pet?

Iguanas are giant lizards with a muscular build and the appearance of a little dragon. They have a powerful physique with lovely spikes, jowls, and a lengthy tail. Adult iguanas (5 years and older) can grow to be 5-7 feet long and weigh 6-8 kg. Green iguanas come in a variety of colors and patterns, including blue, red, white, and albino.

  • The green iguana is a strict vegetarian, so all it needs to grow and flourish are salads, fruits, and flowers.
  • Iguanas are intelligent and more innovative than other reptiles, and they identify their owners. Iguanas are aware of their owners and may even recognize their voices. It takes time for them to bond with their owners, but once they do, they trust and even adore them.
  • They have a long lifespan; if you care for your iguana correctly, it can live for 10-15 and even up to 20 years.
  • Iguanas are pretty clean, do not have a strong odor, and do not make a lot of noise except some hissing when unhappy.
  • No hair/fur- People who are allergic to hair or have a sickness that requires them to avoid it should consider an iguana as a companion animal
  • You can potty train your iguana- Iguanas are intelligent creatures who only poop in the water. You may teach your iguana to poop at the same time every day, either in the toilet or in a bucket full of water.
  • Iguanas are also diurnal, which means they are active during the day and sleep at night.
  • They require UV rays from the sun to absorb nutrients properly.

What type of iguana makes the best pet?

Iguanas can be persnickety. They can be a bit mean. I’ve owned iguanas. They are pretty cool but they need certain Temps and humidity and large enclosures. All giant lizards need a large enclosure. I have two giant lizards. Both males, both 4 feet long, both share an eight-foot enclosure.

They are free to roam. But they are not iguanas. They are a Savannah monitor and an Argentine black and white tegu. I raised the Savannah from one month old. He is docile, friendly, and excellent. The tegu has the same personality.

But I got him as a juvenile. They are lovely pets. I recommend them 100 times more than an iguana. Now, remember, as with any pet, it is a commitment. We are talking about 15 to 20 years they can live. They need a vast enclosure. Food, supplies, attention. So, if you can’t commit, please, please don’t get a giant lizard as a pet. It’s not fair to them or you.

Why are iguanas considered to be the best pets by some?

Cause they are really cool dudes! They love to chill and relax. They don’t make much nuisance as most pets do. Grown-up iguanas mostly prefer to be basking comfortably rather than jumping around all over. The little ones can be quite active and playful. They take time to bond with their owners, but once they get used to it, they make great pets.

Iguanas are highly intelligent and can be tamed well. However if they do not get proper care and training, they can be very moody and aggressive. You need to know a lot about them before actually getting one. Also, they grow humongous. They can measure up to 6 feet from the nose to the tip of their tail and live up to 20 years. They are pretty high maintenance exotic pets.

What is the best food for iguana pets?

Ok, this is a fun one. To start, you need to know that iguanas have a very fantastic digestive system. They pull more from their food than most other herbivores. However this also can cause a problem with their domestic diet in making sure they get enough nutrition but also that they don’t get nutritional toxicity.

It has almost no nutritional value). Now, the other 20% is half veggies and half fruit(another list at the bottom). My girl gets a salad mix of 5–6 different greens, some shredded staple gourd (acorn, butternut, spaghetti, or kabocha squash. etc), and mixed fruit and veggies.

80% of an iguana diet is a staple produce; this is your green leafy plants: endive, collards, watercress, turnip/mustard greens, dandelion, arugula, escarole, etc. (I’ll share a link to a more in-depth list). Make sure to give more than just one kind of green (no Iceberg lettuce.

I also like to use rose petals, clover flowers, dried seaweed as well as fresh herbs from my garden. Flax seed and seaweed are excellent additives for growing iguanas and are still an enjoyable treat for older ones. Something to stay away from is eggplant and avocado; these are toxic to your iguana. I’ll post a set of sites I use for getting my iguana food rather than make another really long list. Trust me, my iguana eats better than I do.

What are the advantages of having a green iguana as a pet?

They eat fruits, flowers, leaves, and grains. They are also can eat some insects but that’s not their mainly food. Iguana is known well as an animal that is easy to get used with people. Unlike another reptile, which still bites their owners, iguanas relatively quickly while together with people moreover their owners.

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Iguana can live for 20 years old. Some of them can live until 29 years old. Not only dogs or cats, but can also train iguanas. They are clever animals, actually. They are also trained to do some tricks. You don’t need to worry when they are lost because iguanas can find their way back home.

Should reptiles be kept as pets?

It’s not a matter of “should’. Whether you should keep a pet is a personal choice regardless of the animal, be it a cat, dog, or snake. I would say – Yes. But just like any other pet, there is a vast variety of reptiles that can be kept as pets, and it varies in difficulty and care requirements between each species.

Further going into details, it is advisable to have a captive-bred reptile as a pet than a wild-caught one. Wild reptiles often contain harmful pathogens, usually aggressive, hard to tame, and might harm the ecology from which it is removed in large numbers. Although there are people who can care for wild-caught without difficulties, it comes with experience and calculated risks. At the same time, captive-bred reptiles are usually nonaggressive, easy to tame, and easy to care for. It poses minimal risks and usually doesn’t affect the ecosystem.

Among the reptiles, there is also a wide range of difficulty levels to consider. There are beginner-level reptiles which has very minimal care requirements, are easy to tame, almost little to no risk to the keeper. For example – corn snakes, leopard geckos, or a turtle can be seen as an entry-level reptile in the hobby.

But there are also high-difficulty pets like giant lizards or venomous vipers, which are usually kept by people with long experience. So it is unfair to group all the reptile pets into one big box of ‘Dangerous wild animals.’

And for the part where whether a reptile can be considered a domesticated pet like a cat or a dog, although they do not display the same kind of affection and responses as common house pets, reptiles do become tame through regular interaction and show affinity towards its keepers to some extent.

It really depends on what kind of relationship one is looking for in a pet, and it varies from person to person. Much like cats and dogs are domesticated versions of their wild counterparts from the past; reptiles can also be equally loved and cared for as house pets.

Which is a better pet, an iguana or a snake?

It depends on the snake. ‘Snake’ is not a species. It’s an entire group of animals. There are also several different species of iguana, though what people usually are referring to is the giant green iguana (Iguana iguana), when they talk of ‘iguanas.’

An iguana is more readily trainable and thus could be more interactive, although they are wild animals and have variable personalities. Some will grow up to be relatively docile animals that will approach their owner for a treat. Others will be unholy terrors, hissing, biting, and tail-whipping (hard enough to leave bruises) once grown, no matter the efforts to tame them. Giant green iguanas are reasonably intelligent lizards.

They are also huge. They require an enclosure at MINIMUM the size of a walk-in closet, well-insulated, with powerful UVB light, and a constant ambient temperature of 80F -85F with a 100F basking area. They need humidity to be 60 to 80%, no lower. And they require a complex diet of plants — mostly greens, but not lettuce, spinach, or cabbage — every day. They’re very challenging to house, care for, and feed. They cannot be ‘free roaming’ in a home, unless the house has the above temperatures and humidity in it at all times.

Most common pet snakes are small species, such as ball pythons, corn snakes, kingsnakes, and milk snakes. These snakes also require carefully climate-controlled enclosures but do not require UVB lighting. Under-cage heat sources are best — these must be carefully controlled via thermostat. Most species need an ambient temperature of 80F with a 90F basking spot. Humidity requirements vary according to species.

The vast majority of pet snakes eat rodents, which can be purchased frozen tha, wed, and warmed up to feed to the snake. They eat once a week and so typically only require cage cleaning once a week, with perhaps a mid-week spot clean. They are deficient in maintenance. But snakes prefer to spend their time in hiding, resting comfortably and happily and not being bothered.

If you want an animal that will pay attention to you, the green iguana is the best option out of these two, but in terms of ease of care, a small snake species cannot be beaten.

Anyone considering a reptile pet should do a LOT of research (not just from one source) and get all of their equipment in advance before they consider bringing home an animal.

And consider its lifespan. Reptiles are long-lived animals in general. Small pet snakes can live 20, 30, or even more than 40 years. Green iguanas live 20 or more years. Don’t get ANY animal thinking you can rehome it later if your circumstances change. Iguanas, in particular, are hard to rehome. No one has space for a giant lizard with a demanding diet in their life. And zoos have all they can handle already.

Is keeping a pet right or wrong?

It’s perfectly alright to own a pet as long you treat it right and give it a good life. But some people shouldn’t be owning pets.

An Asian man was arrested for training his pit bull to drop bricks on people. The man who was said to be a loner didn’t like people ringing his doorbell, so he taught his dog to chuck bricks at them. Pitbulls are beautiful but tough-looking dogs. Imagine staring one down with a brick in its mouth.

What are some things I should be aware of before having small iguanas as a pet?

They stay large. They get huge. They can be aggressive, but they can hurt you without meaning to. Their claws are razor sharp, nonretractable, and set 90 degrees to their toes. This makes it easy for them to climb trees but hard for them not to avoid ripping you up when handling them.

They are strict vegetarians and should absolutely not be given any meat. Yes, they will eat it. It will seriously shorten their lifespan. If you do it properly, you will end up buying a ton of exotic fruits and veggies, and you will never eat any of them.

The tail is a weapon and a dangerous one when they get bigger. Males sometimes turn orange during mating season. They also can become very aggressive at this time. Be careful, even if he’s a puppy dog the rest of the time.

The most important thing is to do your research before getting one. They aren’t nearly as easy to take care of as people think, and they can be dangerous if they decide to be. Excellent pets if you know what you’re doing, though.

What is it like to have a pet iguana?

I’ve had a few they’re hard to care for. You have to make sure they have water and food. They also have to have a heat lamp to simulate sunning. It helps with digestion, and they’re cold-blooded, so they need the heat to keep them warm.

You also need a place for them to get away from the heat lamp to cool down if they get too hot. You have to play with them quite a bit, or they won’t be very taken, and the tail whip isn’t too fun either. Mine were only small, but the sound the tail makes slapping the side is loud.

We had a cat that would watch it, and when it’s face got close to the glass smack right against the side the cat was gone. My cousin had one that was like 4ft long, give or take; his tail was like a real whip. He hit my cousin with his tail, and he got mad and forgot they could swim through it in the pool, trying to drown. It made him even more mad when he started swimming.

What are the pros and cons of owning an iguana?

The cons are many. Being that you’re even looking at an iguana, I presume that you understand the cons of giant lizards in general, so my focus will be on the cons of green iguanas in particular, which, again, are many.

To put it simply, green iguanas are assholes on a level only the tokay gecko and Nile monitor can consistently contend with. They are cranky, unpredictable, territorial, and dangerous. They will rake you with sharp claws, whip you with spined tails, and bite and thrash with their strong jaws and surprisingly sharp teeth. Make sure, in particular, are horrendous. They won’t let you into their massive enclosure even to clean. And if you are a woman, a male green iguana won’t let any men near you without attacking them.

Not only do they make horrendous houseguests, but they are also prone to disease and parasites because of their farm-raised nature, which will cost you a lot of money in vet bills.

Overall, green iguanas make horrible pets. However, if you feel you must have an iguana, try a rock iguana. They still cannot do without the attitude.

Can you make a pet out of a wild iguana?

People have done so. The thing to remember about reptiles is that while some folks put them on a collar and leash and expect them to ride a shoulder or arm, the animal will be much more content and a great deal safer if you keep it in a lizard–specifically iguana—habitat.

You should ask, as just two days ago, I was reading an article about iguanas falling from trees onto people below in Florida. When the temperature goes low, these non-native former pets become torpid and lose their grip. We try not to despise other human beings.

Still, there ought to be a particular Hell for people who abandon their pets or toss them out with no understanding of how their presence (and breeding capacity) can entirely unhinge an ecosystem.

What do I do with my pet iguana that I don’t want anymore? Should I leave it in the rainforest and run because it is an iguana?

Never abandon a companion animal of any kind and assume it will survive fine on its own in the wild. Your iguana is used to food being delivered to it and water being readily available. There are many reasons, not to mention how cruel it is, not to abandon your pet.

It is illegal to release nonnative wildlife into any area. Nonnative is any species that is not native to the area you are thinking of releasing it in. Many people do realize that there are many species of box turtles, for example. Just because there are box turtles where you live in Texas does not mean that they are the same species as the box turtle you brought back from your trip to Virginia.

It is illegal to release native wildlife without a permit. Even wildlife rehabilitators require special permits and licenses to operate.

It is morally unethical. Assuming you want it to live, giving it to a pet store for resale is probably not an option. The reason the California desert tortoises are under threat of extinction is that those populations not disturbed by habitat destruction are being decimated by a viral infection spread into the wild populations by sick former captives who were released into the wild to either live or die – the former owners didn’t particularly care which and had some foolish notion that if they were meant to get better, they would.

In addition, long-term captives may be carrying organisms against which they have developed immunity but against which wild populations have not – thus, a release such as your plan could be devastating to the native turtle populations.

Why do people keep their pinky nail significantly longer than the rest?

And, conversely, the wild populations may have immunity against organisms against which your foundling does not – again, a release could be lethal. Other animals may be affected as well, as many of the infecting microorganisms will happily inhabit many different types of hosts.

Releasing long-term captives outside their normal range, even if it is in similar habitats, may also prove fatal as many of them fail to learn to feed, hide, and generally survive.

(One study of wild rattlesnakes resulted in most of the study group dying, despite the fact that the biologists released them into what they considered to be prime habitat for that species, an area which was devoid of any other rattlers.) Also, they have little natural defenses against predators which may be different than the ones in the locale in which they evolved.

The best thing to do is to contact your local herpetological society (or turtle and tortoise society, if applicable), and give the reptile to them. They will check them over to ensure they are healthy, treating them if they are not. They will then be adopted out to people who will care for them properly.

If you have an exotic that you can no longer keep, you are responsible for finding a proper home for it or at least getting it to someone or a group who can do so. Do not release these animals into your yard, park, or nearby wilderness area. Not only is this illegal, but it is almost certainly a death sentence, especially for tropical, desert, or montane species released outside of similar habitats. Releasing Captive Reptiles and Amphibians (

If I wanted to get an iguana as a pet, what would I need to provide for it?

Very big viv (10ft plus) ceramic heat emitter on a pulse thermostat, UVA/b lighting or a mercury vapour lamp(heat and UVA/b) a big log to perch on , some dec a hide/cave etc, dripper system or water fountain(like cats prefer lapping dripping water) good quality salad/veg, calcium supplement, some like a water pan(mine is not a fan), personally mine is “free” i have a dining table, i cut legs down to correct height for his lighting added castors so can move it.

Electric dog bed as better than reptile mats and my floor is tiled, he has a cat fountain, halogen heat and uva bulb plus extra uva/b only bulb, pillow, bunnies adopted him as a weird bunny so he has furry pillow too, need claws checking toilet cleaned usually only go once a day all in one go,gum checks here and there as prone to gum issues, be prepared for it to be violent/grumpy(i have a weird one so i am told seeing as degus sit on him, guine apigs curl up with him, one kisses him, bunnies adore him, groom him, greet him etc and in the 15 yrs i’ve had him been bitten once when first got him of his shitty old owners , not violent at all, bit grumpy but not vicious

What are some things I should be aware of before having small iguanas as a pet?

That there aren’t small iguanas. From your question I guess you are talking about a green iguana (Iguana iguana). They grow up to 6ft and take up a lot of space: a specially built terrarium/enclosure of AT LEAST 9ft long, 3ft deep, and floor to ceiling filled with climbing branches and foliage to feel safe.

They need heat lamps with UV-B to keep the heat up (like Solar Raptors), high humidity, and a calculated diet supplemented with vitamins and minerals. they are not pets you can handle all the time. It causes stress, which in turn can lead to health problems.

What are some tips for having a pet iguana?

Understand how big they get. Males can quickly grow over 4 feet (including tail). Iguanas are arboreal. They like to climb and, in or out of the cage, will try to reach the highest spot. They need proper lighting. They need UVB lighting as well as UVA for calcium absorption.

Iguanas are surprisingly bright for a reptile. They observe you as you observe them. Expect to form a relationship with your iguana. It’s not like a turtle or a snake- they are entirely aware of you.

People talk about handling them and how important it is, but if you traumatize them when they’re young, say, by chasing them around the cage to catch them, this is a complete hindrance. If you want a friendly iguana, be patient and respectful towards it. Natural curiosity will make them interested in you.

For some reason, iguanas do better with a variety of foods. Change it up every week or so; it really makes a difference. Let an iguana go (this only applies to adult iguanas) who is struggling against being held. Avoid bloodshed and Infections. Their claws can do some real damage.

How good are iguanas as pets?

Iguanas aren’t suitable as pets. As they grow they can be difficult to tame—frankly, they’re wild—and become aggressive if not regularly handled. They have razor-sharp claws. They grow to be huge. Since they can’t be litterbox-trained or house-broken, they poop everywhere when you let them out of the cage, which they keep outgrowing. Trying to find a vet with training in iguana health is very difficult and not cheap.

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