When people talk about getting an iguana for a pet, they usually refer to the most common species, the “Iguana Iguana” or the green iguana.
Found in South and Central America, as well as other parts of the Pacific, the iguana has become very popular among pet owners in the United States and Europe in the past few years.
Active in daytime, the young iguana is usually bright green in color, helping it to hide itself from predators in the green vegetation of the forest. With its quick movements and sharp eyesight, the green iguana avoids capture quite easily. As the iguana grows older, its color changes from bright green to a muted green.
An iguana in the wild spends its day trying to find a sunny spot to lie on, feeding, and trying to escape from predators.
Of course, an iguana in captivity is a different case. Though there are no more predators to escape from, an iguana should be well taken care of by its owner. It maybe a popular pet, but taking care of it is by no means an easy task.
Let’s talk about some things to do when taking care of an iguana.
1. Provide a large enclosed space for your iguana.
Since a green iguana may grow as large as seven feet, the pet’s enclosure should be any owner’s top priority.
It may seem that the iguana is contented with a small pen; however, without ample space, it will grow listless and will be stressed, resulting to sickness and even vulnerability to infections.
The enclosure should be a few times the iguana’s length in either depth or width or one and a half times in height since the animal needs to move around or even climb.
Later on, the pet iguana should be given privileges to roam around the house, as long as the owner will make sure that it won’t be able to get out or feed on important stuff around the house.
2. Provide big branches or synthetic structures for your pet’s enclosure.
Not only will the enclosure look more pleasing to the eyes with the addition of the things mentioned above, but they will also make the pen a better place for the green iguana to live in. It will be a good habitat since it will provide a venue for climbing and basking – two activities that contribute to the iguana’s emotional and psychological growth.
For the flooring of the enclosure, one may use mulch (a material designed to keep hold of moisture, prevent weeds from growing, and keep the earth from being eroded) or simply sheets of your daily newspaper.
3. Make sure to provide the enclosure with a good heating device.
You should not overlook this since an iguana not properly heated will not be able to digest its food well.
An owner should provide a good source of UV light for the iguana. The enclosure should not have any part with a temperature lower than 26°C while at least one part should have a temperature as high as 35°C. A spotlight is good for this purpose.
4. While heating and light are important, provide darkness, too.
Six to 10 hours of darkness each night is also important for the iguana’s well-being. The enclosure should be shielded from streetlights or lights from appliances.
5. Pay attention to your pet iguana.
Any pet animal deserves care and interaction from its owner. Just like your regular cat or dog, the green iguana deserves love and affection. If not given the attention it deserves, an iguana may grow listless, sick, and eventually die.
There you go. The tips mentioned above are just some of the things that have to be considered in taking care of an iguana. These are not to be used as a substitute for a consultation with your trusted veterinarian. Professional help is still needed in order to make sure that your iguana will live for a very long time.