Brief Iguana Care & Cost SheetThis is a very brief care sheet for Green Iguanas that I have come up with myself after much reading and research. Please do not stop reading here and read, read, read! You cannot collect too much information before obtaining an Iguana.
1) First of all do not depend solely on the pet store to give you proper care instructions. Most (not all) are sadly uninformed when it comes to reptiles, iguanas in particular. Don't let them sell you a 10 gallon tank and a heat rock!
2) Obtain the proper set-up BEFORE the iguana comes home. This is not a mammal that you can bring home and put up temporarily in a box overnight! This includes AT LEAST:
3) Do make sure the iguana is warm enough. To digest their food and metabolize calcium they need to be at 85 degrees. Make a temperature gradient from 80-90 degrees. This means that one end of the cage is 80 degrees while there is a hot spot of 90 degrees at the other end. Use the thermometers!
4) Do make sure that the UV light is about a foot away from your iguana when he is under the 90 degree hot spot. Any further away and it becomes useless.
5) Do feed a proper diet. You can't slack off here! I did once and wound up with an iguana with a calcium deficiency and two broken ribs. he is fine now, but he shouldn't have gotten to that point because of my laziness. Please click here for a detailed diet plan. Read it and print it out; take it to the grocery store; whatever it takes! Chop the food up small enough for the iguana to eat. Iguana's don't chew their food. They swallow it whole so keep this in mind.
6) Do Find a qualified reptile veterinarian in your area. Click here to go to herpvetconnection or here to go to Melissa Kaplan's list of reptile veterinarians. Collect the first bit of poop that your ig delivers and take it to the vet for a fecal examination. This will save money in the long run, since at this point you don't need to bring in the whole iguana. If a parasitic condition is present you will be faced with a vet visit down the road.
7) Do not rely on any one source for information. Read this and many other publications. Ask more than one iguana owner for advice. Check out local herp societies in your area, and go to a meeting or 2. There is a lot to be learned there.
8) Do not feed any animal protein! This includes insects such as crickets an mealworms. I can't believe it but there are still pet stores out there that are convinced that baby inguanas need animal protein. This is just not true. Iguanas are true vegans. NO ANIMAL PROTEIN!
9) Do not feed your iguana iceberg lettuce or any lettuce either! There is absolutely no nutrition in iceberg lettuce for iguanas or humans for that matter.
BE RESPONSIBLE! It is your responsibility to find out
the facts before you buy a new pet, no matter what it is. Don't do something
just because the pet store tells you to! In the same way that you don't trust just anyone who has a 'health care attorney, Los Angeles' sign out front, you should not trust someone just because they work somewhere with a 'pet store' sign. They are not authorities on iguanas.
Check out different pet stores. Buy a book or two. Ask them questions
that you already know the answers to to see if they are taking proper
care of the iguanas in their care. If they say "oh yeah, iguanas are so
easy to care for" take your business elsewhere. The fact of the matter
is that they are NOT easy to care for. They can become easy to care for
if the proper research is conducted, the proper environment is set up
and the time is set aside for the proper care.
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