Caring for Hatchling Cyclura Iguanas
HousingHatchlings to several month old Cyclura can be housed in standard glass aquaria. 20-30 gallon tanks are sufficient for several months for one individual. Housing several hatchlings requires a larger tank and possibly several tanks as there can be bullying early on. If you have 2 or more in the same tank watch carefully for signs of bullying. It can be barely perceptible to humans. Make sure all the babies have access to the food and the basking spot.
Substratecan be newsprint or paper toweling for hatchlings. I do not recommend any particulate substrate such as bark chips, sand or walnut bedding for hatchlings. You don't want them ingesting these sorts of things and getting an impaction. Reptile carpeting can be used but it gets dirty fast. I have found paper towels to be the easiest even though they are not the most attractive substrate.
Furniturecan include rocks that are carefully placed so they cannot be dug under or tipped over. Half logs and branches may be utilized for basking and climbing.
Temperaturesshould be 100-110 on the basking area. This is one reason small tanks are undesirable. When heating a basking spot to these temperatures it is very difficult (impossible) to have the proper thermal gradient so they can cool off when they need to. The cool end should be in the 70s. Night-time temps should be in the upper 70s for hatchlings and babies.
LightingCyclura hatchlings need access to UVB rays like those from the sun. This can be accomplished indoors with two different types of lights. One type is a fluorescent tube such as the Zoo-Med Reptisun 5.0 or Zoo-Med Iguanalight 5.0. Either of these tubes is used in conjunction with a light for heat (basking light). The other type is called a Mercury Vapor Lamp. I don't recommend the use of these on babies as the ones that work the best are 160 watts and that would be too hot for a baby in a smaller tank. For hatchlings stick with the "old fashioned" tubes combined with heat lights. The brand listed above has proven to be very consistant with its uv emissions. Replace these bulbs every 6-8 months as they have a rapid rate of decay.
Watershould be offered in a low dish and kept on the cool side of the enclosure. This will keep it from evaporating too quickly. Hatchlings and babies should also be soaked in lukewarm water at least every couple of days to keep their hydration level up. While they do not require the same high humidity environment that Greens do you need to be careful with hatchlings so that they do not dry out. Misting once a day is helpful also.
FeedingSee my Cyclura feeding page. Feed hatchlings the same diet chopped small.
Handling- Handle your baby frequently for periods of about 15 minutes at first until he/she gets more used to it. Keep in mind that most hatchling cyclura are very flighty. They think you are going to eat them and will try and get away at any opportunity. Be careful not to grab the tail if they do happen to get away. They can drop their tails very easily. See my taming page for various techniques and personal experiences. Most experienced Cyclura owners will tell you that 2 years is the magic number and I have to agree. At around age 2 they seem to gain confidence and calm down more readily.
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