Green Iguanas can and will reach 5 to 6
feet and weigh up to 18 pounds. There is a reason that many are calling
them "Giant Green Iguanas".
Green Iguanas WILL need a portion of a room
or an entire room when they reach adulthood. Keeping a 5 foot lizard
in a fishtank of any size is just impossible.
Adult male Green Iguanas most can
become aggressive (sometimes maddeningly so) for 3 months of the
year in honor of breeding season. Picture a 12 pound Iguana running towards
you with lust in his eye.
Adult female Green Iguanas are highly likely
to produce eggs even without a male present during breeding season every
year. Without proper care they can die from this.
Iguanas DO NOT eat crickets or any other animal/insect protein! The pet store people can sound very convincing when they tell you that baby iguanas need crickets to grow. In fact, iguanas
are not equipped to digest animal/insect protein at all. Feeding insect
prey will shorten your iguana's life by many years.
Green Iguanas require a highly specialized,
varied all-vegetable diet. Even with the best intentions many iguanas
die from poor diets, usually related to bad care advice from the pet store.
The setup for a Green Iguana can run into
the hundreds of dollars. Can you afford this? The UV light alone
costs over $20 and needs to be replaced every 6 months to a year. Also reptile terrariums can be quite expensive as well and if your iguana gets to big for its home, then you have to replace that as well.
Green Iguanas will require that you continue
to stay abreast of recent developments. New findings come out and
our captive care guidelines change periodically.
Iguana Research Checklist
DO NOT go to your local pet store to
ask for advice about iguanas as pets. They are notorious for giving out
false, harmful and incomplete reptile information (particularly in regards
AVOID the local library as a source
of good information. Many of the books in libraries are woefully out of
date and contain false information also.
DO surf the web and visit some of the
links from this page and others. Read and print out as much information
as you can get your hands on. While there is some faulty info on the web
there is a lot of GREAT information to be found for free. After reading
quite a bit you will begin to be able to pick out the bad information and
concentrate on the good stuff.
DO subscribe to the IML (Iguana Mailing
List). Many people that have gone through what you are going
through chat about various aspects of iguana care here. A very good source
DO NOT follow any one person's advice on
how to care for Green Iguanas. Listen to lots of opinions and then make
your own conclusion. Overall, keep an open mind and expect that over the
years there will be more research done and new advice to follow.
Green Iguana Myths-
The following statements are false!
Your iguana will only get as big as his environment so you can keep him in a 20 gallon tank forever. FALSE! The only reason a green iguana will not outgrow a 20 gallon tank or a 55 gallon tank for that matter, is if he is not cared for properly. His growth will be stunted and he will be unhealthy. He will die before he outgrows these tanks.
You need to feed your iguana animal protein
(insert cat food, dog food, monkey chow etc. here) so that he grows properly.
FALSE! Animal protein will slowly kill your iguana. Iguanas fed animal
protein will die prematurely. They are strict vegetarians and their systems
are not set up to digest animal protein.
Are you really ready
Are you prepared to give this animal his own
room or portion of a room in a couple of years?
What are your plans for the future? Moving? Getting married? Will you have the space for it in a few years? Think
Are you prepared to take this animal to the
vet (and spend money) if it gets sick? Vet care can be expensive. Keeping an iguana, or any pet for that matter, means you have made a commitment and will take it to the vet if necessary.
Are you prepared to give this animal the specialized
diet and environment that it requires? This is also rather expensive.
Are you prepared to care for this animal for
up to 20 years?
If you answered "yes" to all the questions
above then by all means keep reading and get yourself an iguana. If you
answered "no" to even one of the questions above you should probably rethink your decision to obtain a Green Iguana.
Check out some of my other pages to see if maybe another lizard might be better for you. I highly recommend the Bearded Dragon, Leopard Gecko or Crested Gecko as a smaller, very personable, easier to take care of lizard. Also see my recommendations.