The green iguanas or those which take the name of “Iguana iguana” are commonly found all over the South and Central America, in Mexico, in the southeastern part of Brazil, eastern Pacific, and the Caribbean. Breeds of the green iguana are now also spotted in Hawaii and Florida. The green iguana is popularly the largest type of lizard that happens to inhabit much of the territories of United States.
The Physical Description of the Green Iguana
In a matter of three years, the young twelve-gram green iguana can turn into a one kilogram adult green iguana. Right after they get hatched, their length varies from 17 to up to 25 centimeters. Most of the well-fed matured green iguanas come to weigh at about 4 and 6 kilograms but at times they reach the 8 kilogram weight.
The term green iguana does not stereotype these reptiles. The matured iguanas come in uniform colors whereas the younger ones vary between brown and green. Their colors can also get affected by their health, mood, temperature, and social statures.
One of the distinct features they have is the dewlap that can be found under their throats. The dewlap is much dominant in the male green iguanas rather than in the females. The laterally positioned eyes of the green iguanas are being protected by some immovable eyelids and mobile lower eyelids. The parietal eye functions as some kind of a meter for the solar energy and contributes much to the maturity of the endocrine and thyroid glands in these reptiles. Lastly, the plates or scales on their heads are much irregular and larger compared to the scales found on the rest of their body parts.
The Habitat of the Green Iguana
Arboreal lizards—these are what green iguanas are and they therefore enjoy living on top of tree canopies. The younger green iguanas tend to stay in the lower portions but the matured ones like it high above. This kind of dwelling technique allows them to do basking in the sun and they rarely go down with the exception of the time when the female green iguanas deem the need to dig their burrows so they can lay their eggs. They still prefer to have water around their habitat so that they can easily escape the predators who love to attack them. They are great swimmers so they most of the times successfully manage to avoid their predators.
The Development of an Iguana
Right after an estimated 65 days upon the mating period, the female green iguana is now ready to lay her eggs. The number and size of the eggs depend upon the size of the female iguana. Within a three-day period, about 10 to 30 pale-colored eggs get deposited into the nests. Other nests can be shared by many female iguanas especially when there is a very limited space for them. Actually, the female iguanas do not guard their nests but they do visit their eggs from time to time. The incubation for the iguana eggs last from about 90 up to 120 days. The hatchlings are the ones that crack their egg shells open by making use of their special egg teeth which are known as the caruncle. The yolks in the eggs are the providers of nourishment for the young iguanas.
Dogs are man’s best friend.
That’s what we usually hear.
But would you believe if I tell you that iguanas can be your best friend, too?
Sure, we’ve heard a lot of stories about people treating dogs, cats, birds, and fishes as best friends. But how many would want large reptiles like snakes and lizards as best friends?
If you’re an ordinary pet owner, you might take a rain check on taking care of an iguana. But you’ll never know the joy being felt by those who dared to live up to the challenge.
Let’s take a look at some of the reasons to have an iguana as a pet:
1. Iguanas are vegetarians.
If you’re a pet owner, chances are, you have to go to a pet shop and buy food. It’s bearable if you have to buy only the simple dog food or cat meal, but what if you have to buy mice? Or worms, cockroaches, crickets, and the like? Most of the time you have to hold these tiny creatures and feed them to your pet – may they be affectionate or seemingly uncaring.
You don’t have to go to a pet shop to feed your iguana. You can simply pick greens from your garden or buy fresh vegetables from the grocery. Isn’t that simple?
2. Iguanas usually hit it off with their owners.
Unlike some lizards and snakes, iguanas are known to interact with their loving caretakers. Some would sleep beside their masters – evidence that iguanas can be very close to human beings.
Some are calm when held by their owners, but would twist and bite when held by a stranger. Nevertheless, some are so tame that anyone can hold them.
Some iguanas would even allow their owners to dress them up in silly outfits.
3. Iguanas live long.
We all would like to have a pet that would live very long since you’re going to invest emotion, not to mention money for food, medicine, and veterinary services.
While rats, hamsters, or bearded dragons may live only a few years, iguanas, like cats and dogs, may live up to 20 years.
Actually, the oldest iguana on record lived up to 29 years!
4. No hair or fur will stick to your clothes or worse, get into your nose!
If you’re asthmatic, you very well know the difficulty of being around animals that would make you sick. Iguanas, however, being reptiles, have none of the fur and hair that would send you to the hospital.
5. Iguanas are very educational.
Children will learn a lot when they care for iguanas. They have to know about temperature, rainforests, animal husbandry, importance of proper care of lizards, etc.
It maybe good to take note too that these lizards are distant relatives of dinosaurs and taking care of them will provide children with a venue for study of the prehistoric creatures.
Iguanas are good subjects for Show-and-Tell, research work, and the like as well.
As you can see, there are lots of reasons to become an iguana owner. Why not live up to the challenge? Go to your nearest pet shop and get an iguana for you and your family now!
If you are considering having an iguana pet, you need to check out some tips about iguana food.
The first thing you should know is that iguanas are vegetarians and they feed on vegetable protein. The vegetables with the best nutritional value for iguanas are those that are high in calcium, contain Vitamin D3 and are low in phosphates. Vegetables known as greens are the best ones for their stable diet. Some examples of possible green food are collard greens, mustard greens, alfalfa, dandelion greens, watercress. These include -yucca root, snap peas, parsnip, papayas, okra, mango, kabocha squash, green beans, butternut squash and acorn squash. You need to be very careful when feeding your iguana pet because an improper food can eventually lead to kidney failure.
On the other hand, not all vegetables are good for an iguanas menu. For example, broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage related vegetables can cause thyroid problems, so it would be best to avoid them.
“Commercial iguana food” can be also used without fear. It provides the nutrients a green iguana needs in order to be strong and healthy. A mixture of fruit, vegetables (mainly greens) and commercial lizard food is the ideal combination. Other things to use are squash, yams and particularly raspberries and blackberries as they are high in calcium.
Besides iguana food, you pet also need a constant supply of fresh, clean water to drink from! You will daily need to change the water in your iguana cage. This kind of reptiles normally drink very little but do like to soak, unfortunately they do often use the bowl afterwards as a toilet.
Be sure that the humidity is not low. You can check this aspect by watching the quantity of water your green iguana drinks. The easiest way is to use an adjustable humidifier which will solve any problems you have.
Many people believe that iguana food can include almost everything, but this is a myth. iguana food has to be correct in order to keep your pet in a proper condition.
If you are an eccentric person, you might consider having an exotic pet, such as an amazing green iguana. You should know from the very beginning that they have a whole different set of needs than typical dogs or cats. One of the most important things you ought to know is that an iguana cage needs to fulfill certain demands in order to keep your green iguana housed comfortable. Here is a mini guide to some of the main considerations you should keep in mind while finding the perfect iguana cage.
Size is the first important aspect when buying an iguana cage. There is an incorrect idea many people believe in. It is a myth that says that a green iguana kept in a small iguana cage will not grow large. For instance, a healthy iguana can grow up to 6 feet in length, meaning that you will need to be able to make special arrangements such as an outdoor cage, or a dedicated room in your home where you can keep a big iguana cage. Think about the fact that your green iguana needs to be able to move and climb inside the cage.
Another important aspect is the temperature provided by the iguana cage. It is a known fact that reptiles are cold blooded creatures therefore they cannot self-regulate their body temperature. The place where you decide to put the iguana cage should be able to provide the temperature that will keep your iguana warm enough in order to stay healthy and digest food. A solution are usually the heat lights on the top of the iguana cage, but make sure first that the space is big enough for the iguana to move away from the lights if it start feeling over heated.
The third important thing you will have to take into consideration when placing the iguana cage in your house is the humidity. green iguanas come from native habitats with high air humidity, which prevents dehydration. You should know that the lack of humidity can cause skin problems, eventually leading even to death from kidney failure.
The last important aspect is the light. If your will not be able to let your iguana sit under the sun, make sure the cage provides an artificial source of the UV rays in order to keep your pet healthy and comfortable.