Iguanas are one of the most popular reptile pets in the world. As required for pet owners to acquire animals for caring, they need to learn the characteristics of the reptile from its anatomy, feeding requirement and habitat.
The enthusiasm one has for a new pet of any kind often wears off quickly if the animal is no longer healthy and finds them experiencing problems. It only takes understanding and education to prevent those problems to make life easy and happy for both owners and pets
If you have already decided to obtain an Iguana as a pet, there are a few facts to keep in mind. The longevity of the animal is up to 15 years in captivity, the size of adults reach up to 6 feet in length. There are basic and important dietary requirements to consider. It is also important to understand that these animals are capable of inflicting injury on their owners. Though it is established there are more cases domestic dog biting than there are the number of Iguanas in the United States, it is safe to bear in mind that the iguana pet is a wild animal regardless of how much you think it is not.
The availability of farm raised Iguanas from Central and South America has drastically reduced the price, increased the quantity available, and generally increased the health of the babies arriving into the United States as well as other countries. These facts make it easier than ever to obtain a healthy animal to start, or to expand your reptilian collection!
The area that needs major attention is the diet of Iguanas. As popularly known, the iguanas are herbivore. To be more specific Iguana is actually a folivore, which means animals that primarily eat leaves. It’s natural habitat are branches of trees and there is no evidence that Iguanas, young or old, eat insects etc. For they do not possess any predatory capability like jumping or quick movements to capture fast moving insects. Besides iguana simply cannot properly metabolize anything other than leaves. Iguana has a digestive system that is known as a “Hind-Gut fermenter”. Meaning they use the lower intestinal tract to produce vitamins and absorb it’s ingested food. Fiber is a critical component of of their diet. It changes as the animal matures. Approximately, fiber should be no less than 16% of their diet.
Body temperature plays an important role for Iguanas to digest their foods. In their habitat the Iguanas seek a sunny basking spot to raise their body temperatures to around 98 degrees Fahrenheit. When they achieve the required body temperature they will begin to feed. The proper body temperature helps the animal in digesting its food.
During captivity, it is important to provide pet iguanas with the proper heating equipment to maintain required temperature.
The rate at which Iguanas eat is a function of its health, environment and age. If junk foods are for children, junk food for the Iguanas is fruits. It is equally as hard to get most common Iguanas to eat their greens instead of cantaloupe.
Dark leafy greens comprise the majority of Iguana’s diet. Minimize intake of spinach, parsley and kale. These greens contain oxalate which blocks Iguana’s ability to absorb calcium. There is still ongoing research proves this issue, but it is probably safe to avoid these greens.
Young iguanas should be fed daily. In their natural habitat, these animals feed several times per day. As they mature the frequency of meals decreases. They have no ability to chew food; they bite off chunks of greenery and swallow it whole. Therefore in captivity, It is important to chop all their food to a size that can be handled by your iguanas.