In this edition of Pet Pointers, Lisa Chelenza takes a close look at iguanas and how to properly care for them.
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Over the last twenty years, iguanas have become popular pets in the U.S., and juveniles can be purchased in many pet stores for less than $20. However, what most people fail to realize is that these animals, when cared for properly, can get very large and live a long time.
“Unfortunately, many of them die far too early because they just don't have the right information. They suffer metabolic bone disease and other illnesses that take their lives really early. If you provide the proper attention and care for your animal, as well as ongoing veterinary care to make sure that your animal is getting everything it needs, easily these guys can get between four and five and a half feet long. Some of the biggest can reach up to about six feet but they can also live between 15 and 20 years. So they are really an animal that has a lot of longevity and size if you take good care of them,” said Diana Sleiertin, Max Man Reptile Rescue.
Males are usually larger than females and can become aggressive, especially during mating season. Due to their behaviors, size, and specialized care requirements, iguanas should not be your first reptile and there are much better choices for retile fans. Consider an easy to care for gecko or bearded dragon.
To be happy and healthy, an iguana needs specialized care, including a strictly vegetarian diet with lots of dark leafy greens, fruit, veggies and legumes, UV broad spectrum lighting, which simulates natural sunlight, and enough space to stretch out, climb and grow to their maximum size.
Before you bring home any pet, understand what kind of care they need and be prepared for their adult size so you can accommodate them as they grow.