what does it mean when my baby pet iguana gets black spots on its head?

when i got this iguana from my dads friend he was bright and healthy. then i put him in a ten gallon tank with lots of vegies and feeding it that and carrots, and also water. i also let it out for excercise. his head turned black.

4 Responses to “what does it mean when my baby pet iguana gets black spots on its head?”

  • anettnetti:

    Part of the color change for many of them is the appearance lots of brownish-black and black markings including spots, stripes, and ‘veining’ or ‘grouting’ (the black surrounds the green or blue scales like grout around tile, and may be unevenly dispersed so it is rather like the tendrils of varicose veins). As the iguana’s body and individual scales get larger, you will be able to more clearly see individual scales, and see that many of them contain several different colors – green, yellow, orange, blue, black, white – like some pointillist painter gone mad on this amazing canvas…

    Fungus and some bacterial infections may also start out as black spots. Fungal infections have a furry look (but not feel) to them and generally appear in circular patches, often with two to three small circular patches clustered together. These look very different from the normal or emerging natural black markings. Bacterial infections may be crusty to the touch, may or may not be slightly swollen.

    This is a great website to help you identify what the possible problem could be:

    I hope he will be allright!
    Good luck, I hope I was some help.

  • snake_girl85:

    They will turn black when they are stressed, scared, angry, territorial, sick etc… They also turn darker colors when they are cold in order to absorb more heat when they bask. You didn’t mention a heat lamp, so if you don’t have one it is imperative you get one, as well as a fluorescent UVB light, in order for them to metabolize vitamin D/calcium. I’d also recommend putting him in a larger tank as soon as possible. Iguanas, even the smallest baby ones, need more room than a 10 gallon can provide. More importantly, 10 gallons are too small to provide a proper heat gradient (if you got the basking temps where you need them in a 10 gallon you could end up cooking the thing).

    Check this site out: http://www.anapsid.org/pdf/icfs.pdf

  • Trisha:

    It could be natural coloring, burns or a fungal/bacterial infection. Keep an eye on it. If it is a different texture than the normal scales, it is an infection. either bacterial or fungal. If it is flakey or blistery it could be burns. Make sure he is not too close to his heat lamp. If it spreads; take him to the vet.

  • Betty:

    You did not say how old or large the iguana is. Iguanas can turn black if they are stressed or ill. Have you had your Iguana checked by a reptile veternarian? If it is stress it probably is do to his anxiety at having a new owner. If this is true he should also be expanding his dewlap (flap under his neck) and trying to whip you with his tail. A 10 gal tank is too small even for a hatchling Iguana.

    In any case I recomment the vet visit. you can find reptile vets at http://www.anapsid.org/vets/index.html

    Here is some information on caring for your Iguana, You will find more at the links I included at the end.

    Iguanas are herbivores; they do not eat animal protein of any kind. Commercially available Iguana food is not suitable for use as it usually contains animal protein. An Iguana’s primary diet should consist of Collard Greens, Mustard Greens, Turnip Greens, Escarole, parsnip, winter squash, alfalfa, strawberries, figs and a calcium supplement. The greens should make up the majority of the diet.
    The Iguana should be feed early every morning. They will spend the rest of the day digesting the food. Water should be provided, preferably in a dish too small for the iguanas to immerse themselves in.

    Iguanas can grow to 6 foot in length.

    Age…………… head to vent…..total length
    Just hatched………2 in ………….6-8 in
    3 months………….4 in…………..12 in
    6 months…………6 in…………..18 in
    1 year…………….8 in…………..24 in
    18 months…….…10 in…………..30 in
    2 years…………..12 in…………..36 in
    3 years……….….16 in…………..45 in
    4 years……….….18 in…………..54 in
    5 years…………..20 in…………..60 in
    6 years…………..22 in…………..66 in
    7 years…….up to 24 in……..up to 72 in

    Where x is the length of the iguana, housing should be x tall, x deep and 1.5 x long. Iguanas are arboreal and need to have something to climb on. A bathing area is also desirable. Iguanas instinctually poop in water and they are likely to consistently use the bathing are to do so.

    Iguanas need a basking area, normally at the top of the climbing area that has a temperature of 95F. The lower areas of the cages should be cooler as a lizard regulates his body temperature by moving to warmer or cooler areas. The lowest temperature, nighttime, should not be less than 75F. Nighttime heat can be provided using ceramic heaters or night bulbs. Never use heat rocks with Iguanas as they can cause burning.

    Iguanas live in equatorial areas. They should have 12 hours of light and 12 hours of dark. They also require high quality UVB lights (such as reptisun 10) to facilitate vitamin D production to allow calcium absorption. Vitamin D drop are not a suitable replacement due to problems with dosing and lack of evidence on their effectiveness. Daily trips outside, in a suitable enclosure, are desirable when temperature permits.

    Iguanas must be handled daily to socializing them. As they can inflict injury with their tails, teeth, and claws the purchase of protective gear for the forearms is often considered (my son uses a leather jacket and gloves). They are not domesticated animals so this behavior is instinctual on the Iguana’s part. The daily handling is to show them that you are a friend rather than a threat. Never punish an iguana, but at the same time do not let them win. If the Iguana learns that tail thrashing will cause you to put them down, they will always tail thrash when you try to pick them up.

    Iguanas require reptile vets. Regular vets do not have the training needed to understand what is happening in an Iguana, or any other reptile. You can find a list of reptile vets in the US at http://www.anapsid.org/vets/index.html.

    In captivity Iguanas given proper care can be expected to live 20 years.

    Please be sure to visit anapsid.org. It is the website of Melissa Kaplan, author of Iguanas for Dummies.


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