Photo of Kharma, a Rhino Iguana

Feeding Cyclura Iguanas

Cyclura iguanas can be treated like green iguanas for the most part food-wise. They are mostly vegetarian like the green iguanas but some people say that there can be a small amount of animal protein added to their diet.

There are tons of good pages out there with green iguana diet info such as:

Please read all you can about green iguana nutrition. It sounds like a cop-out but it's not. The Cyclura really do need a very similar diet.

In addition to feeding them rather like green iguanas some people advocate the feeding of small amounts of a animal protein. This could be in the form of high quality, soaked dog kibble, insects such as superworms and/or small frozen thawed rodents. Since there seems to be a fair amount of contoversy on this I opt to feed only a very, very small amount of these items. I would recommend these items be fed at the most, once a week or even once a month in very small amounts.

** Please note that in recent months a lot of people seem to be erring on the side of caution when feeding animal protein. I am one of them and only feed my cyclura the occasional superworm every couple of months. Aside from that they get a strictly vegetarian diet like my green iguana. Please scroll down to the bottom of this page for more of my thoughts on animal protein and why I avoid it.

Here's what I feed mine every day
Greens, Greens, Greens and more Greens...
Every day I aim for at least 3 of these greens (**note there are NO lettuces here):
  • Collard Greens
  • Turnip Greens
  • Mustard Greens
  • Dandelion Greens
  • Escarole
  • Chicory
  • Watercress
  • Arugula

These greens make up about 80% of the daily diet. I am a big fan of the collards and turnip greens (they have an excellent calcium: phosphorous ratio) so most days they get at least some of them in the mix. I shred these greens by hand into pieces roughly the size of the animal's head. This is a rough estimate. I don't mince these up very small as they would be eating large leaves in the wild.

Greens I feed once in a while for variety but NEVER make up the bulk of the diet.

  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Romaine Lettuce

Other Veggies

Also on a daily basis - In addition to the greens; I mince up in the food processor some or all of these veggies (raw):

  • Squash (butternut or acorn)
  • Squash (yellow or zucchini)
  • Carrots
  • Green Beans
  • Pea Pods
  • Parsnips
  • Sweet Potato (yellow ones have more nutrients than yams from what I understand)

On a less frequent basis I might add:

  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Asparagus
  • Green or Red Pepper (not the hot kind)


Fruits do not make up a very large percentage of my cyclura or my green iguana's diets. Most fruits have a negative calcium:phosphorus ratio and are to be used as treats not on a daily basis.

Some of the fruits I recommend in order of best to worst are:

  • Papaya - generally available year-round in the larger stores.
  • Opuntia Cactus fruits - yes, these are even available in the northeast.
  • Raspberries
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Grapes

Basically any fruit can be used as treats and/or for hydration. Fruits pretty much all have a high water content and can be used when you feel your animal is not getting enough fluids. Personally, I have found that grapes are an excellent tool if you need to get any sort of pill into an iguana. They are almost guaranteed to eat them and pills fit in there very nicely.

Animal Protein

I don't feed my Cycluras animal protein very often at all. I used to feed Tashmoo (Cyclura nubila lewisi hybrid) a larger amount of animal protein in the form of superworms and dog food. We lost her in an operation to remove malformed eggs in the summer of 2003. Her lungs filled with blood after the surgery and after sending tissue out it would seem that some of her organs were mineralizing which contributed to her death. Theoretically too much animal protein is one of the possible causes of this mineralization. Since losing her we have scaled way back on the feeding of any animal protein.

There are people out there that feed their Cyclura mice on occasion and/or superworms and dog food quite frequently with what looks like success. I feel that we should err on the side of caution and feed a more vegetarian diet. These animals are expected to live upwards of 30 years in captivity and those people feeding high percentages of animal protein may very well be disappointed in the longevity of their animals down the road.

If you want an animal to feed mice and insects to then maybe a tegu or monitor would be more suitable.

Prepared Iguana Diets

Do I feed any pelleted iguana diets? Surprisingly, yes. I have used three different types of pellets with my iguanas this last year or so. I would like to stress that I have used them as a supplement to the above "natural" diet. I do not advocate feeding iguanas of any type an exclusively pelleted diet. I don't think the research has been done long enough to see the long term effects of the various pellets, particularly on the long-lived Cylcuras.

The pellets that I can recommend as a SUPPLEMENT are:

  • Rep-Cal Adult Iguana (Soaked only)
  • Zoo-Med Adult
  • Ziegler Brothers "Monster Diet"

The Rep-Cal diet is the one that I have used the most. I "know" the veterinarian that was in on the research for the Rep-Cal diet through some friends of mine. I trust that the ingredients are what they say they are and as a bonus the iguanas really seem to like it. I have used it "on the side" for my green iguana and for the Cyclura and they all devour it. I have to make sure they eat their greens first before I offer it or that is all they would eat.

One of the real "perks" to feeding any of these pellets is that it really firms up the "output" of all the iguanas that have eaten it. I do find it a bit bothersome that they Rep-Cal turns the fecal matter a greenish tinge. I'm not sure they need to put the huge amount of dye into the food to get them to eat it. But it seems to be the same sort of dye they subject us humans to in the likes of Gatorade "Fierce" and other products.


Back to Cyclura Iguanas



**This page is based on my experiences and years of reading and researching. Please read all you can on the subject and don't rely on any one source for your information.


© 2005, All rights reserved.