What You Should Know About Caring for Iguanas

Interested in bringing home your very own pet iguana? If so, it’s important that you do plenty of research ahead of time so you know everything you need to do to care for the iguana to give it a long, happy and healthy life.

Here are a few of the most important things you should know about caring for iguanas in Cass County, IA:

  • Tanks: You’re going to want to get a pretty sizable tank, because iguanas grow extremely fast. You can expect them to outgrow a 75-gallon tank within their first year of life, so don’t go with a smaller tank size. Any tank you choose should have appropriate air circulation, and you must be able to maintain high levels of humidity. All lighting and heating controls should be at the top, which means you’ll need a mesh or screen top, or a solid top with a sufficient number of holes cut out and then covered with screen to prevent the iguana from touching the heat sources.
  • Basking: Iguanas need a basking light, because the light and heat helps them digest their food. This could be a regular household bulb, anywhere from 60 to 100 watts, depending on the size of the cage. You need to maintain temperatures in the basking area of 92 to 96 degrees for 12 hours of the day. The basking bulb can be in a silver dome fixture and should not be able to be touched by the iguana. You should carefully monitor the temperatures, especially if you ever have to move the bulb or the entire tank.
  • UVB lights: UVB rays are crucial for iguanas’ digestive systems and to prevent metabolic bone disease as well as kidney and liver failure. You can only get these rays through natural sunlight (not through glass) or a UVB fluorescent bulb, which means you’ll need the latter to add to your tank. There should be 12 hours of this light per day.
  • Humidity: You’ll need a humidity gauge to track humidity levels. Iguanas require at least 80 percent humidity if possible, but if not, you should mist your iguana several times per day.
  • Water: Your iguana should be provided with a shallow dish of fresh water at all times. You might need to change it once per day or more. The shallowness is important—iguanas should be able to easily touch the bottom without getting covered up.
  • Diet: Iguanas are herbivores. They should never be fed animal protein, as they cannot digest it. Their diet will primarily consist of collard greens, turnip greens, mustard greens, dandelion greens, chicory, endive, parsnips, escarole or butternut/acorn squash. You can give some kinds of fruits as treats every once in a while. Do not use commercially prepared “iguana food”—it will likely not be good for the iguana.

To learn more about caring for iguanas in Cass County, IA, we encourage you to contact Fish Store Pet Center today. We’d be glad to answer any questions you have and assist you in any way we can!

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